Data Overwhelm: The Modern Marketers Dilemma

Three simple strategies to create breakthrough data-driven results and beat data overwhelm

Do you ever feel like being a modern data-driven marketer is more work than it’s worth? We have so much data at our fingertips it’s sometimes hard to decide what to take action on, and what to ignore.

And the proliferation of new AI, ML, BI and Automation tools hasn’t helped. In fact, they’ve added complexity to the process, which only makes us feel more overwhelmed.

Well, there is some good news. There are marketers we can model to help beat data overwhelm and get the results we need.

I recently attended a panel discussion with three high-profile tech CMOs. The discussion centered on how they’ve transformed their organizations to become truly data-driven.

I was eager to hear how these successful CMOs overcame the challenges most marketers are feeling today—namely data and analytics overwhelm.

The comforting news is that these high-powered CMOs admitted that even with advanced analytics platforms and tools, they still had the problem of focusing their teams on the data the matters most.

Here are three strategies I took away from the discussion that I think will help any marketing leader quickly beat data overwhelm and deliver more predictable, data-driven results.

Strategy #1: Use the data you have

No matter where you are in the deployment of your Martech stack you have access to more data than you think. The idea is that you don’t need to build a new central data lake or data cube to get started.

Start by asking simple questions:

  • What are the characteristics of my best customers? (Customers who buy, buy more, and buy more often.)
  • Where did they come from? (What marketing channels brought them to you?)
  • How did they buy? (Did the sale require multiple touches online or with a salesperson?)

Once armed with that data you’ll have what you need execute better targeting, offers and customer experiences that will lead to increased sales.

Strategy #2: Measure what’s important

With today’s tools it’s almost too easy to measure everything. But, in most cases it’s handful of metrics that matter most.

The panel CMOs were adamant about measuring what counts. For example one CMO focused on four key metrics:

  1. Win Rate (Number of deals/number of opportunities)
  2. Average Deal Size (Gross deal size as well as profit/margin contribution)
  3. Number of Units (The number of seats and length of deal to measure lifetime value)
  4. Deal Cycle (The amount of time it took from contact to close)

Another one of the CMOs focused on vertical penetration of their target market. In this scenario they identified 5000 target clients then measured the number of deals that converted within that group each month.

The key takeaway is to focus on the 3 to 7 key metrics that make your business tick. Then set clear expectations with Sr. management, your team and your analytics and data vendors to focus the majority of your attention on what matters most.

Strategy #3: Simplify and streamline

One interesting anecdote that came out of the panel discussion was who complex data-driven marketing programs have become. Deploying automation and data-driven personalized experiences has created more opportunities for your marketing to go astray.

The big idea was to simplify and streamline your programs wherever possible. One of the panel CMOs was on a mission to “kill” programs as quickly as she could. In her experience Pareto’s principle is hard at work in every marketing plan. Which means that up to 80% of her marketing programs should be questioned and cut if their long-term value didn’t add up.

So if you want to improve your marketing ROI start looking for programs, campaigns, and tools you can cut immediately.


There is no silver bullet or magic pill to make the job of modern marketer any easier. But if you apply these three simple strategies, you’ll be on your way to improving results and beating data overwhelm.

About the Author

Collin Dayley is SVP of Growth and Strategy for One Partners, a leading performance marketing agency with offices in Salt Lake City and Seattle. Learn more about how One Partners can help you Wow! your customers at

One Partners

We’re performance marketers relentlessly unearthing insights that move people to action, delivering agile, innovative, data-driven marketing solutions.

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