Conversations about Data

A day doesn’t go by when I read about great examples of how organisations are using data to improve their business and enhance the experience that their customers are getting

This is often driven not necessarily driven by big data but by using data fast and smart.

What rarely gets talked about in public is the way that fast and smart data is used internally by business to understand the impact of their decisions. Luckily I was able to attend an Econsultancy Roundtable where this was one of the many topics being discussed

Described as the Data Driven Marketing Roundtable I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of hours with a variety of high street name brands as well as data and digital platform suppliers. It was fascinating to hear some of the issues organisations have in understanding the value of the data that they hold.

A perennial dilemma seems to be the idea of whose data to believe. With so many different stakeholders involved from product teams, to channel owners and functional departments each vies to prove that their version of the ‘truth’ is the correct version. If anything the proliferation of channels has made things worse.
And of course this expansion in the number of new channels starts to pit old channels versus new, with many of the more ‘traditional ‘ channels such as direct mail and email trying to fight their cause against social and programmatic when it comes to proving who is driving revenue and hence whose budget needs to be protected.

The new ‘digital’ kids on the block (well perhaps not that new these days) think they know best, as do the die-hards who have been working in an organisation in tried and tested channels over a number of years.
I know from experience that bringing the 2 of these together involves an education process that shows each of them the value that they can each bring to the table. Indeed an education programme throughout the business can help inform and inspire not just marketers about what can actually be achieved in relatively short time-frames.

Unearthing the real value of the data and the data teams themselves is not achieved overnight. Often organizations can achieve big successes by starting with small, low-risk projects where value is added incrementally to existing reporting, coupled with a gradual increase in the number and scale of projects as they create awareness of the capability build knowledge and instill confidence. It’s just as much as about data culture as availability of data and platforms

Scale of projects also means moving away from just delivering numbers and starting to add insight to those numbers. But insight can only be delivered by combining data and providing the data teams with some background. Without knowing the where we’ve come from and why we are doing something it is very difficult to deliver the so what and so what next?!

Talking of ‘where we’ve come from’, it stills seems laughable that marketers still expect analysis to be available even without the original input from the analysis teams to help steer framework setting and data collection. If we haven’t been able to collect  historical data in the right way, please don’t assume trends or comparisons can be made!

And one last thought for those of you who think that by buying the right tech or software can eliminate all the hassle, right? Think again; without enough analytics resource you’re not going to reap the benefits of that GA 360 investment