Data management platforms are just the beginning

You’ve finally had the green light to switch to your data management platform of choice. Unfortunately this is just the first step to generating transformative insights for your business. This guide will walk you through the journey ahead and look to identify the processes that form the basis of a scalable data strategy.

The illusion of fast insights

With the recent proliferation of data management platforms it’s easy to think that turning your mountains of data into a business asset is as simple as entering your payment details. At a glance you will see that there are a number of products that can provide you with insights simply by plugging in your data points, but are they generating the right insights for your business and how do you even know what these views are?

To be clear, this is not a criticism of those platforms, as ultimately they are only as good as the quality of data that you are feeding in. In each case your options will be limited by three factors; your overall strategy, the quality of your data and the creation of an implementation process flexible enough to facilitate the two. Let’s explore these in more detail.

Data strategy

It’s safe to assume that if you are looking for an end- to- end data solution, then internally your business has already acknowledged that topline is just not good enough both operationally and competitively. But this is the easy part, now it’s time to answer the big question, what do you actually want?

Before you begin the process it is crucial to understand both your intention going in and the desired outcome. Clearly defining these requirements will help to shape all subsequent actions and highlight areas which require your attention.

Here are some example questions to get you started. It’s highly likely that an individual won’t be able to answer all of these from every perspective necessary, and this is a positive thing as it will push you to involve the whole business in your planning.

  • What does success look like?
  • How do we measure that success?
  • Which metrics best indicate user intent?
  • Which segments do we engage with most frequently to run our business?
  • What is the lowest level of data we will need to report on?

Data quality

The importance of data quality in this whole equation cannot be overstated. In most cases when we talk about data quality we are really talking about the consistency of naming conventions for the activity that you are running. Even the most talented analyst cannot understand how your data sources fit together without the correct markers in place to guide them. It’s a bit like receiving flat pack furniture without the instructions or at the very least poorly translated ones.

Whilst most marketing managers name their campaigns, ad groups and creatives adequately for running their own activity they do not always consider how this will be tied back to the bigger picture. Naming conventions are the DNA of your data strategy and should include each level of detail determined in the previous section.

In the example below all of the key items are separated by an underscore with any additional information added to the end.

Market_Device_Channel_Strategy_Platform_Brand/Non Brand_Size_Additional

To ensure that this is applied consistently I’ve built a naming convention tool to help you roll it out. Make a copy here and pass to your teams. To make this most effective I’d advise password protecting the file and asking people not to make copies to avoid versioning issues.

Selling the benefit

There is a hidden component to this if your strategy is to endure. In my experience many data problems are actually the product of poor communication which can lead to inconsistencies in application. To combat this do not simply train your employees to complete data preparation tasks. Instead you must take the time to explain the benefits both for the business and to them personally. This is vital, as people do not follow processes they don’t understand and invest less in projects where they do not see a direct impact to their daily routine.

Here are some examples of benefits to the individual:

  • Saves time when naming your activity
  • Helps diagnose problems more easily
  • Makes it easier for new team members to negotiate the account
  • Helps you answer questions from your client or senior stakeholders
  • Speeds up the briefing process to your data team

Following these points should give you the right tools to drive meaningful insights for your business. Although not everyone is a data person, we are all invested in its potential and harnessing this energy will help ensure the longevity of your processes and bring others along with you. Data has been described as the new oil; though this is still debatable, what is certain is that, just like oil, you will need to reshape the structure of your business to unlock its true value.

To find out more on data management and how we can help, get in touch today!

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