Data is the foundation of every modern business, technology, marketing campaign, and sales initiative. Your data (and how you use it) is a critical distinction between you and your competition.
At Whereoware, we’re obsessed with all things data. Data drives everything we do—from our Creative team using data to track user experience, to our client marketing team analyzing performance data to optimize every campaign, to our Customer Insights (CI) team (who are all.data.all.the.time) creating sophisticated business intelligence dashboards and predictive models. Before saying go, we look to data to validate our strategy and guide our execution, and then measure activity and results along the way.
If there’s one thing to commit to in 2020, it’s becoming a data-driven company. Leaders across industries share this goal. A survey from CMO Council and Deloitte found, “more than half (56%) of growth CMOs prioritize data and intelligence analysis as the top skill to help them evolve their growth agenda.”
Depending on your organization’s current comfort level, this might mean undertaking a few specific projects to elevate your data game; connecting your systems to breaks down silos; or starting from the ground up to set a reliable data foundation.
Whether you’re just getting started or doubling down on your data pledge, follow our three steps to becoming a more data-driven company in 2020.
Step 1 – Audit Your Data
Rarely do our clients complain that they have too little data. Most often, they are overwhelmed by the sheer volume and complexity of data available at their fingerprints, with more data being created and collected every day.
Combat data overload by taking the time to audit your data. Your goal here is understand your sources of data and distinguish the meaningful data from the unhelpful. We call meaningful data “actionable,” meaning it tells you what action to take next.
Here are a few examples of actionable data and why:
Step 2 – Clean Your Data
Messy data means manual data cleanup and analysis. Good data is clean and consistent, so you can segment, query, report, and rely on it.
Clean up your data by creating a marketing data spec. This can be as simple as an Excel sheet that includes the data fields you want to capture and text options for each field.
Foolproof your spec by building a webform to import data directly into your marketing automation or CRM tool. A webform offers control over field value inputs, so you don’t get a lot of outliers or messy (aka lazy) inputs. Capitalization, spacing, and other formatting must be consistent across the board.
For example, set rules on your Sales Rep Name field to reject shorthand or nicknames. Limit your product line field to your main lines (Fashion, Baby, Gift, Pet, for example) and an “Other” option to capture the occasional outlier. The defined options should encompass 90% of your needs, so you can confidently build queries, segments, and customer profiles, and cleanse the outliers on a regular basis.
Step 3 – Gather All Your Data in One Place
Data silos – when your data lives in different tools that don’t integrate, or your teams only get access to “their” segment of data – hide “big picture” insights and crush productivity. Data silos are surprisingly common. In fact, the same CMO Council and Deloitte study found “as many as 36% of growth-driving CMOs say silos plague their business.”
It’s hard to make confident, data-driven decisions when you can’t trust that you have all the information. Whether it’s in your email marketing database, CRM system, sales app, or business intelligence (BI) tool, consolidating your data into a single system frees you from hours of data manipulation and most importantly, reveals a “universal truth” – a single view of your customer across all the different places they touch your company.
At Whereoware, we use the business intelligence tool Domo to combine data from different sources and deliver true visibility into trends, behaviors, and performance. Domo lets you layer data sources from different tools into visualizations that are easy to understand and manipulate. It lets anyone gain an upper hand on data strategy and make data-driven decisions, not just IT or your “big data” geeks (we’re looking at you, Whereoware Customer Insights team).
Embrace Your Data
Don’t let your commitment to becoming a data-driven company in 2020 end up another false start New Year’s resolution. The cost of manual reporting, marketing mistakes, and wasted opportunities is too great.
Invest your time in using data to systematically improve your company’s business health. Embrace, organize, harness, and maximize these insights to be more effective, efficient, and engaging. Understand your business better and follow the data breadcrumb trail your customers are leaving for you, telling you what they care about and how you can stand out to continually win their business.