Wednesday, October 3, 2018

6 Questions to Determine if You're a Data-Driven Marketing Company

Competitive companies know they must be more data-driven today. That in turn requires a combination of technology and talent.

Data management is not easy. In a recent survey, 47% of marketers said it was difficult.

Data Management is Difficult
Here are 6 questions to ask yourself to see if your company is a data-driven marketing company:

1. Is your data centralized?

I often find data scattered across an organization with any one group only having visibility into part of the customer journey. Centralizing data would also help break down data silos across systems and departments. Sometimes I find different answers from different sources, presumably answering the same question. For example, why is online sales from our CRM system different from the web analytics? There's bound to be some discrepancies due to tracking methodology. But you do need to agree on one source of truth for reporting purposes.

2. How's your data hygiene?

It's hard enough centralizing all your data and stringing it together with primary keys and join functions. But you also need to spend time on data hygiene as an ongoing maintenance plan. Data integrity is key to combatting what I call "garbage in, garbage out."  You should be routinely looking for things, such as missing data, weird outliers, and duplicate records. Ultimately, you need to trust your data before you can rely on it.

3. Are you democratizing your data?

Are you empowering the right people with the right data in a timely manner so they can make informed decisions? For example, are social media campaign results accessible by not just the marketing team, but also the PR team? Are the marketing folks who are responsible for lead gen able to access sales data from the sales team to know the quality and close rates of their leads? And vice versa.

Often times this leads to the development of a shared online dashboard, such as Tableau, that let's users drill down to the data and analysis they need. But make no mistake about gathering business requirements first to know what internal stakeholders really need in order to design the right dashboards for specific users so they are not all swimming in a sea of data! 

4. Can you tell stories with your data?

Since we were babies, we have loved bedtime stories. Guess what? Executives and managers still love stories! Can you translate data into actionable insights? In my experience, I see lots of reports that's just numbers in Excel or on slides. In a recent study, many marketers find this to be one of their biggest challenges actually.

Importance of Storytelling with Data
Here's an example of translating data into insights. Let's say you ran an A/B subject line test for an email campaign. A good analyst will report out the open rate for both versions, calculate the lift % and significance level, and determine the winner. A better analyst will have a hypothesis on why the one subject line might have won and propose the next A/B test to run and why. Give something for the copywriter/marketer to work with.

5. Do you have top down support from senior management?

This is critical to know if the culture at the company truly supports data-driven decision making. Are executives willing to invest in the tools, resources, and personnel to enable data to flow freely across the organization? Are executive ready to rely on data to make big business decisions vs. their gut/experience? Or is it lip service?

6. Do you have strong partnerships between Marketing, IT, and Analytics/BI teams?

If you don't have top down support, this one will be even harder! At the minimum, this triumvirate is required to connect the disparate data sources...or what I refer to as data plumbing. To be successful, communication and trust across these teams is critical.

If you answered yes to all of the above, CONGRATULATIONS! You're a data-driven company well positioned for the 21st century.


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