There is no point in beating around the bush: Big data is all around us and it is here to stay. This is probably not the first time you’ve heard us say that. It is true, though, and the more data grows, the more marketers and marketing technologists will be pressed to find the right tools to tame it.
A few years ago, Salesforce made a prediction: “Between 2015 and 2020, the number of data sources analysed will jump 83%, bringing the 10-year growth total to 120% overall.” This only added to a report by Forrester that estimated that by 2016, an average business would be using more than 60 different SaaS tools.
While this may have seemed surreal to marketing professionals just a decade ago, today it is nothing out of the ordinary. Just ask Scott Brinker, a.k.a. Chief MarTech. His supergraphic of the marketing technology landscape is perhaps the benchmark for the skyrocketing growth of the industry. In 2018, it featured 6,829 marketing technology solutions from 6,242 unique marketing technology vendors.
“And the thing is, frankly, it’s still woefully incomplete,” Brinker admits in a recent interview for Velocity Partners.
So there we have it. What we know about marketing technology is a lot and it will keep expanding. And still, what we know is not everything there is to know. So the question is: How can marketing professionals find their way around all those tools out there and choose the ones that best fit their needs? We may have some ideas.
Choosing an ETL tool: A list of things to consider
You’ve come to the point where you know you need an ETL tool and are standing at a crossroads as to which one of the many to choose. For one, you need to decide what exactly you want from your ETL tool, how often you will be using it and if you can afford it. So let’s start with the basics:
- Look for a tool that can connect to all the sources you use.
- Make sure the tool is able to retrieve all the data you need:
- in its entirety
- in high-quality
- You need a tool that ensures your data will be collected easily and quickly. After all, ETL is supposed to save you work, not add more to the already busy schedule you have.
- In connection to 3., make sure your chosen ETL tool is also easy to set up and maintain. Ideally, you would have it managed in-house.
- Look for a tool with high-security standards. It is all about data privacy these days and you want to play by the rules.
- Find a tool that is cost efficient and fits within your budget.
Going into a bit more detail, there are two main categories of ETL tools that you need to consider: the data syncers and the data transformers.
Data syncers are there to help you move data from one or more sources to another. They are focused more on moving the data than on actually transforming it.
Data transformers, on the other hand, go through the whole process of collecting, transforming and enriching the data, and loading into a target database. They tend to be more complex than data syncers and often have integrated APIs to support a more diverse set of data sources. They also perform data cleansing on a higher level, thus ensuring the quality of the data that you will later base your business decisions on.
In either case, you need to make sure that the tool you choose is able to solve the data challenges you have in front of you. You need to look for a fair balance between the requirements you have and the budget you are working with. With data growing continuously, companies are likely going to need powerful tools to process it, and cleanse and organise ever more complex data streams. All of that information will eventually have to be related to the overall context of the business, which is why timeliness and quality of the data will be of utmost importance.
Having said that, the variety of ETL tools out there is indeed large and taking a closer look is key. So go ahead, brave the unknown and pick just the right tool for your business.