3 Benefits of Business Data Consolidation in 2020
I recently read an article that proclaimed that the consolidation of data across business departments should not fall on one individual or business unit, but is a team effort across the entire business (ie. it’s a team sport). I not only agree because I am an avid sports fan, but because in the world of marketing analytics we are only looking at 50% of the picture (or less) if we are solely focusing on marketing metrics. Vovia has long been an agency that is focused on driving business results. This means ensuring that we are moving the needle on key business KPIs, not just marketing KPIs. However, in order to do this we need to have a line of sight into the business data, which means bringing all departments together in order to collaborate on one single data strategy. What we need is a single source of data truth that aligns itself with marketing data, sales data, store data, visitor data, etc. Data has an important story to tell, but only if we are looking at the whole picture.
While I know the mountain to climb in making this actually happen is a steep one, but the efforts are well worth it. And to attempt to prove that, below I outline 3 benefits to consolidating your data in 2020.
“With data collection, ‘the sooner the better’ is always the best answer.” – Marissa Mayer
Benefit # 1: Laying the Foundation for Marketing Personalization.
As we continue to move towards marketing to the consumer, we need data consolidation in order to achieve marketing personalization.
One department doesn’t need to own the customer data. In fact, one department should not own all the data. But there definitely needs to be one centralized team within the business that does, and that team should be made up of different stakeholders from across the business. That way every business unit has a voice when it comes to the overall data strategy.
This team should be integrating all data sources into one source of truth in order to analyze product purchases, lifetime value, customer preferences, consumer touchpoints, and marketing mix attribution. Taking these pieces of information should feed the marketing machine, including creative ideation, marketing channel planning, and marketing messages. Consumers continue to show us that they will purchase products that they trust. Part of building that trust is serving relevant marketing messages in the right place, at the right time. We need data in order to build our knowledge of how and when to do that, and without a centralized data point our messages will continue to be fractured.
“Data really powers everything that we do.” – Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn
Benefit # 2: Helps Achieve Real-Time Reporting
Data consolidation will help achieve real-time reporting and will help the team focus on key KPIs.
The reality of our current marketing landscape is that real-time feedback is mandatory. It’s becoming an agile world and in order to make quick pivots and adjustments our stakeholders need information fast. The challenge is that this data varies from client to client and from platform to platform. How is the landing page performing? How is Creative A performing? How are our store sales performing? All of this information is stored in different platforms. In order to get faster and better at piecing this all together we need data in one place. That will lead to more real-time reporting, which supports agile decision making.
Something else to consider is that just because we can grab all of these different data points from all of these different sources, it doesn’t mean we should. We need to understand what metrics matter most to the business, then focus on setting up a precise and efficient process to measure those critical KPIs. Having all teams work together on a data strategy helps open these lines of communication in determining what the most important KPIs are for the business. From there, the centralized data team can work to consolidate the data and the Marketing Intelligence team can work on visualizing the data points that will help show the right KPIs to the right people within the organization.
“Things get done only if the data we gather can inform and inspire those in a
position to make a difference.” – Mike Schmoker, Results
Benefit # 3: Helps you Become More Predictive & Prescriptive
Supporting strategic decision making will remain crucial for Marketing Intelligence specialists in 2020. Because there are more and more data points, we need to identify our data strategy or suffer the consequences of scattered analysis.
Predictive analytics is the practice of extracting information from existing data sets in order to forecast future probabilities. Prescriptive analytics goes a step further into the future. It examines data or content to determine what decisions should be made and which steps should be taken to achieve an intended goal. Having all of your data in one place will help make both Predictive and Prescriptive analytics possible. When data is fragmented across platforms there is no way to accurately build any sort of trustworthy predictive model. We need to have data all in one place, with the full business picture, before even attempting to discern what might happen in the future.
“I keep saying that the sexy job in the next 10 years will be statisticians, and I’m not kidding.” – Hal Varian, chief economist at Google
In conclusion, the consolidation of data across business departments should not fall on one individual or business unit, but is a team effort across the entire business. There needs to be a data strategy where all stakeholders are involved, and there needs to be a centralized data store where all-important business data is sourced. Make 2020 the year you either start working towards data consolidation, or continue to work towards data consolidation. It’s not an easy process, but it’s a worthwhile one that will bring you great dividends when it comes to making business decisions with data.
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