4 ways you can ensure you learn the right lessons from data
By Scott East
In this digital age, marketers have more data to work with than ever before. But actually deriving meaningful insights from that data and converting those insights into action is easier said than done. Often, the problem is that with so much data at their disposal, marketers are confused about where they should direct their attention.
Focusing on the wrong data is nearly as bad as having no data. Unfortunately, sometimes focusing on the wrong data is exactly what marketing departments do. If you're looking to avoid the pitfalls, here are some tips that will help make the best use of data to empower your marketing:
Define your goal
One of the most important factors for using data to empower marketing is to be able to define specifically what your goal is. When you’re looking for a needle in a haystack, it helps to know precisely what needle you’re looking for. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a lot of useless needles. As a marketer, it’s your job to meticulously define your marketing goals so your IT teammates know what you’re looking for from them.
Realize that data is fluid
Data doesn’t ever give you a final answer. Because the world is constantly changing at an ever-increasing pace, data changes as well. This requires an outlook that is far more flexible than what we may have been accustomed to in the past. As new information comes in, even our approach to data collection will constantly evolve.
Create a corporate culture of accountability and transparency with data
Brands are good with data until it tells them something they don’t want to hear. Once that happens, brands may be inclined to ignore the data and go with a gut feeling. Or, they're so committed to a particular course of action that they only use the data that supports their bias, and ignore the data that would give them a more complete—though undesired—picture. It’s important to have a culture where everyone has access to the data, regardless of whether the results of a particular campaign, produce or service are positive or negative.
Success doesn’t mean you get everything right on the first try. The real success story is embracing negative data and then jumping on turning around the things that aren’t working. That’s not to say you should try to fail. The goal of properly activated data is to help us succeed the first time as often as we can. But when we do fail, we should not let that discourage us.
Data is what empowers marketers, providing the information they should have to be flexible and fast. When you activate data, embracing transparency and accountability, you can learn fast and move fast.
Scott East is co-author of The Cuttlefish Marketer: The Five Essential Traits of the Modern Marketer (www.cuttlefishmarketer.com). He also is CEO and co-founder of MSIGHTS, which provides cloud-based marketing data integration services to some of the world’s most sophisticated global advertisers.