Actionable Data is a Marketing Advantage – 3 Steps to Create A Data-Driven Culture

By Randi Mohr, VP of Customer Success and Marketing, Whereoware

Data maximization is the critical differentiator in modern marketing. Today’s marketers obsess over metrics to identify untapped opportunities, fuel optimization strategies, and trigger automated, multi-channel customer engagements.

It’s the foundation and catalyst for reliable performance improvement – data feeds both the technology and the teams executing strategic marketing plans that grow our business.

Companies placing data at the heart of strategic decision making and optimization strategies will nearly always have an upper hand over businesses operating from gut instincts or traditional, cruise control approaches.

We’re revealing why building a data-driven culture safeguards and multiplies success, while offering simple steps to embrace and maximize data across your company.

Why is Data the Most Influential Marketing Asset? 

Data is at the heart of the customer experience. It tells marketers what customers care about, where there’s friction, and how to improve their experience. It reveals where to interact with customers and when the moment is most opportune to deepen their relationship with your business.

Answers to these questions are priceless. Data exposes what actions to take and what levers to pull to amplify engagement or performance. It powers digital experiments and optimization strategies, enabling marketers to pivot their strategy in the most profitable way.

Data empowers the entire organization – from marketing, to sales, customer service, and the executive team. It enables disparate groups to make objective decisions from a consistent viewpoint.

For data to have such a powerful multiplier affect across the entire business, data acquisition, normalization, and maximization strategies need to be defined, communicated, and adhered to.

Get started replacing guesswork and gut instinct with thoughtful data-driven culture with these three steps.

Step 1 – Audit Your Data 

Most marketers have so much data and it’s not all created equal. Take time to understand the data you have (or need), where it’s coming from, and how to prioritize.

A simple way to determine prioritization is to identify what data is “actionable,” meaning, it suggests the next decision or action to take.

For example: channel data (breakdowns of performance across marketing channels) tells marketers how to focus campaign outreach and allocate investment and resources. Similarly, sales data tells marketers what’s working and reveals higher performing product categories or campaigns to continuously improve results.

Regularly reviewing actionable data across goals, audience segments, and timeframes helps marketers enhance and guide their customer journey and continuously improve marketing success.

Step 2 – Clean your data, consistently

Actionable data is clean, reliable, accessible, and consistent. On the flipside, messy data is manual data, meaning you’ll waste a LOT of time trying to clean and report on it, or worst, make poor decisions as a result.

Once you’ve parsed actionable data from the meaningless, clean up your data acquisition process by building a marketing spec. A marketing spec sets parameters around the text inputs and formats for each field.

For example, if you’re capturing phone numbers, what format should every phone number follow before import into the database?

Once you have a spec, embark on a database cleanse to remove messy data and duplicates. This means matching your existing data to the marketing spec parameters, so your database foundation is clean and consistent across the board.

Remember, data cleansing and normalization is not a one-time activity, but a continuous process to ensure data captured, maintained, and used is reliable.

Document a data maintenance process that defines business rules and requirements and enforce compliance with this standard ongoing. This improves ongoing reporting and overall visibility into the sales landscape to make proactive and data-driven decisions.

Step 3 – Remove data siloes

Siloed data is one of the most common missteps to building a data-driven culture.

If activity across the customer journey lives in different tools or systems, marketers lose the single customer view and cannot anticipate needs, find opportunities, or guide customers’ next action in a meaningful way.

Similarly, if different teams have access to different sets of data, strategic decisions are hampered by limited information.

Whether it’s stored in your marketing database, CRM system, sales app, or business intelligence (BI) tool, consolidating your data into a single system reveals the “universal truth” – a single view of your customers and business.

Once you have a universal truth, everyone can operate from the same insights and understanding, empowering smart, strategic, and expedited decisions.

A Data-Driven Culture Supercharges Your Business

Auditing and normalizing your data with clear acquisition and maximization processes, and removing data silos, delivers a single, holistic view of business operations and activity.

This access to clear, clean, and complete data empowers marketing teams and stakeholders with actionable insights to engage customers in more meaningful ways and supercharge your business.

Article originally appeared on MarTech Series.

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