Here are three current technology challenges for marketers.

The first technology challenge flows from the fact that the Mad Men of today are the quants.

They may not dress as well as Account Services, or be as moody and alluring as the Creatives, but let’s face it, in our world they’re the cool ones.

And even though we recognize the primacy of data, too many marketers can’t fully utilize, or even make sense of, what should be their most valuable tool.

The challenge is this: you can’t take advantage of the data stream if you’re drowning in it.

In 2014, the issue for marketers isn’t whether skillful application of data and analytics improves results. The issue is how to make sense of highly complex marketing ecosystems with multiple mediums, splintering channels and millions of potential customers to understand.

And at the same time, marketers must keep up with rapid consumer changes while keeping afloat in a tsunami of data — from phone calls and Web searches to text messages, customer service calls and more.  These interactions contain a million little clues, but the data tends to be siloed, disconnected and simply too much to manage.

This brings us to the second technology challenge marketers face today is: how to turn independent data streams into a comprehensive portrait of the customer, and ultimately solve the identity crisis?

With 75 million consumers changing their phone carriers every year, there’s a lot of churn and a lot of movement. And this is just a small snapshot of the kind of huge data migrations that take place every year as an individual changes some important aspect of their identity.

40 million consumers relocate their households every year.  This is called mobility and it’s fantastic for the economy.  It’s the American Way but at the same time, it creates big challenges for marketers.

And the churn continues: more than 2 million individuals change their names every year.  This is not just related to someone getting married or divorced.  Think of the wide receiver Chad Johnson who became Chad Ochocinco, only to change his name back to Chad Johnson all over again.

However, it’s not just these individual identifiers – names, physical addresses, phone numbers, virtual addresses –  that are continuously changing. The media and channels marketers use to reach their targets are also in a continuous value realignment.

The creative destruction within media outlets can leave marketers, agencies and brands feeling as if they’re always one step behind where things are going.

Yet it’s not just a question of what’s hot or not.  Sometimes the intense popularity of a site or service makes it less optimal for a marketer to use it, and not just because of the supply and demand equation that renders CPMs more expensive.

Sometimes it can be closer to the Yogi Berra dismissal of the restaurant, Elaine’s.

You probably know the Yogi-ism: “No one goes there anymore… it’s too crowded.”

That Yogi-ism is the third technology challenge marketers face, and the definition of a marketer’s paradox: How do you know where to go to reach the right target with the right offer?

This challenge is one that in some ways hasn’t changed since the days of the 19th Century retailer John Wanamaker, who famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Let’s call this challenge Wanamaker’s revenge: how to use data and analytics to ensure your entire budget is well spent. 

As good as the AdTech Industrial Complex has become, advertising is a hundreds of billions dollars industry founded on guesswork. Most of the time marketers are looking in the rearview mirror and relying on stale data to inform their next move.

Enjoying the series? In Part One of our series we explain Neustar’s vision for marketing technology in 2014 including some big challenges for marketers, some really great opportunities, and some ways Neustar can help. In Part Three we’ll talk about how data-driven marketing technology solutions for 2014 that enable marketers to perform better and turn insights into profits.

This post was adapted from Lisa Hook’s presentation at last week’s 2014 AdExchanger Industry Preview Conference.