AN ORDERLY WAREHOUSE CREATES VALUABLE DATA ASSETS
One of the issues that has faced many SMEs (small & medium sized enterprises) is making sense of a fragmented data strategy where many operational data systems and integration layers exist. Often no fault of their own many organizations have built operational data systems that helped them resolve an acute problem at a single point in time. Necessity often drives new data system creation and system integrations so many businesses who are dealing with database sprawl or fragmented data systems have become that way incidentally. In the last 10-20 years we have seen an explosion in structured data systems such as CRM where customer identity resolution across systems has become critical for having a strong marketing, PR, and IT strategy.
Often organizations have a treasure trove of valuable data sitting in various repositories but those repositories are disparate from one another and don’t have a data strategy with a single source of truth where data can be easily accessed and analyzed. Customers records, for instance, might reside in a marketing database where emails and contact information are maintained but those customers might exist in a separate retail purchase database where you can measure life time value etc. If a new, growing business were smart they would take this into account early and build their data strategy for long term growth.
All is not lost if you have a mature business but there are choices that must be made right away to keep up in this rapidly data driven business environment we live in. Are you trying to employ a higher converting buyer persona strategy? Have you been able to analyze your customers and derive hidden opportunities for growth? Has your marketing or advertising spend lacked efficiency? It might be time to build a data warehouse or even data lake strategy to put those important data assets to work. What many marketers and technologist haven’t completely grasped is that we are quickly moving towards an addressable or data driven advertising age where quality data means that you can actually personify, target, and advertise to customers at the right time, right place, and with little waste on marketing spend.
The concept for addressable advertising is fairly simple – using existing people based digital matching technology and networks an organization can leverage their data to put a hyper targeted advertisement in social media, PPC, or programmatic display. Tools like LiveRamp, HubSpot, Adwords, and AdRoll make this type of marketing very easy for an organization. One can even change the look of their website based upon recognizable cookie data where custom audiences may be drive a certain experience. For a granular example, Optimizely can serve up various versions of the same content for users recognized in a companies CRM. In example, the implications might mean tailoring the people and their setting in a retail jeans advertisement for the buyer who is visiting the page.
However, for an organization to maximize the value of their data assets and leverage those assets for various cost saving and growth activities they must first seek to attain data quality and identity resolution among their customers and target audiences. Putting in place a structured data warehouse, organizational data stewards, and a customer record/golden record mapping is key for this. Organizational leaders/key stakeholders often need to take part in the process of defining the most important data because there dat acquisition strategy's, processes, and quality mechanisms will follow. There will also need to be ongoing effort to manage and grow those data assets. Also, data may need to be queried, distributed or pushed into other applications so its important you define the data repositories or user access points necessary to satisfy the needs of the business.
Data can be a very exciting proposition for growth but decluttering the mess and defining the valuable data silos is half the challenge not withstanding the overwhelming database and advertising technology available to business leaders today. If you embark on transforming your organization to become more data driven just know that it can be a messy process but a valuable one.
Good luck on your journey.