When it comes to data aggregation, the cheapest solution usually isn’t the best.
Case in point: A lot of marketers try to create a data pipeline with basic ETL “connector” tools like Supermetrics or Funnel.
They automatically collect data from sources like Facebook or Google, then move it to an endpoint like a data warehouse, a dashboard or even just an Excel spreadsheet.
Connectors are less expensive. They’re easy to set up. And they’re almost always the wrong solution for marketers. Here’s why.
Connectors Only Solve Part of the Problem
Connector tools are very good at what they’re built to do. They eliminate manual processes around pulling and combining data from different marketing tools.
But that’s only the first step in the reporting process. That data may automatically show up in your data warehouse or visualization tool, but it’s still just data. It’s up to the marketer to turn it into something valuable.
Limited Data Sources
Connector tools usually come with a large (or not so large) library of automated data connections. Click a few buttons, enter the right credentials, and your data starts flowing.
Unless the library doesn’t have the one data source that you absolutely have to have, like the ad-buying platform that’s at the heart of your digital advertising.
You’ll never experience that problem with ChannelMix, Alight’s marketing intelligence platform. Like our competitors, we have a large and growing library of API-based connectors.
But, if you need a data source that isn’t in our library, we can set up automated processes for you through secure FTP or email.
We’ll also help you standardize and map fields across your marketing data ecosystem, matching campaign names and metrics across sources. That way, you can get a channel-level view of performance and make accurate comparisons between sources.
No Visualization or Storage
Connectors also won’t help you create a dashboard that makes it easy for your end-users to explore the data. You might be given a few basic templates that are usually set up for source-level reporting. But you’re mostly on your own.
Alight’s solutions come with a library of ready-to-use dashboards for Tableau and Power BI, designed for a range of use cases — eCommerce, paid media, lead generation, social, search and more. Some even have built-in tools for forecasting campaign results and calculating the ideal channel mix.
Connectors usually don’t come with a dedicated storage solution. Sure, they’ll feed data to a data warehouse, but you get to set up and manage the warehouse, and the cost isn’t included.
Alight gives you up to 100GB of storage in a cloud-based data warehouse that our team establishes and manages for you.
Connectors Don’t Scale
You might be saying, well, our needs are pretty simple. A data connector is all we really need right now.
Your connector tool isn’t built for that kind of work. So you’ll be forced to start over with a brand new tool, complete with its own onboarding and training cycle.
Or you could use one of Alight’s end-to-end analytics solutions.
They’re all designed to scale with you as you undertake more complex reporting and analysis. You don’t have to learn a new platform or rework your data ecosystem — you just tap into the next level of resources required to the job.
Even better, you’ll be assigned a dedicated account director who can help you build a roadmap for where you want to take your analytics.
They’ll point out the milestones and objectives that you need to hit in order to reach your goals, based on our 14+ years of experience helping marketers grow their analytics.
Choose a Data Pipeline for the Long Haul
For some marketers, connectors might be the right choice, especially if they’re on a small team dealing with just a few digital data sources.
But if you’ve got ambitions for greater levels of insight, invest in an analytics partner that will grow with you — like Alight Analytics. Schedule a call with our team to learn how we help marketers achieve greater levels of insight faster.