Eureka - We've got data. Now what?

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Sourcing (or buying) data isn’t hard in the digital age. We’ve got loads of data. Often, more than we can handle. What’s difficult is finding those needles in the haystack of BIG data–the insights to support your marketing objectives. Data doesn’t do us any good sitting in a database or spreadsheet; it needs to be actionable to make a measurable impact on our marketing. So how do we get there?

silo

Get on the same page. It’s no surprise that typical corporate structure is stuck in silos. Departments are segmented, each with its’ own set of business goals and objectives with little crossover between them (i.e. marketing and IT). A “greater good” approach is often tried but rarely successful. Silos mean teams focus on their own metrics and measures of success, the result of budgets tied to bottom lines, one of the downfalls of modern marketing. Digital touchpoints = opportunities to collect data. The problem is these touchpoints cross disciplines. Ecommerce transactions, social media listening, call center logs, display ads, web analytics, press coverage, POS data–think of the customer insight we could glean if we could align on a common mission.

theend

Begin with the end. Start with questions that will address customer pain points and align with business objectives. What insights would help accomplish our goals? “What do our customers like about X product?” “What are our competitors doing that is generating online conversations?” Once we’ve figured out what we’re looking for, then we can look at data points. It’s easy to get sidetracked trying to gather as much data as possible in this big data world. There’s likely a lot out there that in no way shape or form will help us meet our needs. Test. Then test some more. What do we do with these insights? Launch a $6M campaign? Heck no. Small pilots are our friend. Try one market or one day, learn and improve. Testing not only allows us to see what’s working now, it allows us to become smarter for the future (both near and far). Start stretching—it’s time to get agile. Test and learn makes easy and painless change an imperative. Processes and tools that allow us to make shift-on-the-fly updates and decisions are crucial and may mean the difference between success and a wasted budget.

measure

Never stop measuring. As we’ve said before, measurement can’t be a post-process task. It must be done throughout. The brief should include the types of data we’ll source, what we want to learn from it and why it matters. And, once you’ve gotten something you think is of value, skip the 40-page PowerPoint and take action. Your marketing, and your colleagues will thank you.

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