This is a three-part blog series:
Sink or Swim? Data without a strategy is going to drown you
While brands have now heard loud and clear that they need to start using data in their marketing, many organisations often struggle to get off the ground because they don’t have a real data strategy. We find clients without a data strategy that try to get value out of an ocean of data end up just drowning in the numbers.
Here’s an analogy I find useful: Do you take random ingredients out of your kitchen cupboards and then work out how you’re going to make dinner out of a tin of beans, some eggs and a bag of flour? Of course the outcome will be better and your ROI greater if you work out what you want to cook, and then go select the right ingredients from a recipe.
It might be worth first considering what data strategy is not:
For our clients, a true data strategy is about comprehensive vision and actionable foundation for an organisation to harness their data for customised messaging (advertising, content, etc.) at every stage of the customer journey. Data can help move ever closer to the marketer's holy grail of having a 1:1 conversation with the customer.
To kick off the process, you must start from the end and work backwards, understand what the business objectives and end goals are, then form a plan to get there. Too often brands start the conversation with a list of data assets (such as their website, CRM, paid media, email or search) and have no clear vision of their goals.
In order to qualify a true data strategy, we find clients have the most success if they employ three check points:
If you can’t hand-on-heart say these core principles are met, the data strategy is not yet complete.
Next step is to understand the core components of a data strategy, these consist of setting goals (as previously mentioned - start with the end in mind!), then understand your data sets (are they fast moving or slow moving? User level or aggregated?), next comes the execution part - plan the rollout & testing against a milestone driven timeline. Finally it’s critical to understand impact & this is done via measuring value metrics. More on the end to end process best practice in our final article of the series ‘how?’.
For additional reading, look out for IAB Europe’s Using Data Effectively in Programmatic white paper being published soon which will provide guidance on the types of audience data available and how they can be used to execute effective programmatic advertising.