Thinking about data? Here are 3 things you need to do first

1. Ask the right questions

It goes without saying that having a strategic approach to managing the capture, collation and output of data is critical. But before your company starts collecting data or delving into existing data for insights, you first need to identify what data can do for your business. After all, your data is only as good as the objective of the business.

Data is celebrated for its ability to help businesses reach the Holy Grail – a Single Customer View. But have you stopped to ask why you want or need a Single Customer View? You know it will enable Marketing to build a better Customer Experience, but how does it feed into the other various functions of the organisation?

Likewise, when asked what they want to do with data, many marketers will answer that they want to acquire and grow their customer database. But can they say how many customers and what they look like?

Another element that often goes unanswered is the financial value of the data. When was the last time you calculated a dollar value for your customer database? Ask yourself, who are your profitable customers and who would you happily let go?

A solid understanding of the value of data to your business will help you implement the right technology to harness your data; ask the right questions from your data; and deliver on your business goals – at all levels of the business.

2. Think beyond marketing

Data is much more than a tool for marketing to send personalized direct mail and customized offers; it’s about the whole customer experience. The whole business, for that matter. 

Take sales: recent research revealed that businesses that enable their sales representatives to leverage data on a day-to-day basis stood to increase revenue productivity by 17 per cent. By analyzing data, finding patterns of
behavior and identifying the things that are important to know, the Sales Team are better informed to make the right decisions about how to treat an individual in an interaction.

Working out the value of data beyond marketing may require some rethinking across various departments. But by recognizing data as a catalyst for your whole organisation, you can outperform in all areas.

3. Process, process, process

According to 2013 Teradata research, 42 per cent of marketers say that lack of process is the number one obstacle to using data insights in decision making. 

In fact data is all about process. To truly harness your data and get the insights you need to drive a sustainable competitive edge, it’s imperative to put processes in place.