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Data Strategy: Making It Work

The importance of data in today’s world of marketing is widely accepted, but its rapid rise may have led to gaps in strategy.

Start-ups have benefited from beginning small in the digital era then gradually scaling up their data management as business grows. For established companies dealing with existing large data sets, however, the development of strategies surrounding the use of data is more crucial.

The Econsultancy Measurement and Analytics Report found that most companies (86%) believe their ‘understanding of customers is increasing over time’, with 55% reporting using data to grow this understanding.

The same report also found that two-thirds of the companies surveyed do not have a formally documented data analytics strategy – a figure which needs to change in the coming years. Indeed, 50% of these businesses were planning to increase their spending on in-house analytics in the following 12 months. However, they are likely to face a number of challenges in growing these teams and their capabilities.

Winning over Company Culture

The first hurdle to the adoption of data strategy is cultural. After all, the collection and collation of data needs human input, and teams need to be fully on board in order to effectively implement and follow through on strategy.

Data sets require cleansing, updating, and perhaps most importantly, governing. The responsibility of data privacy must fall to someone, and can be a contentious issue. In addition, data strategy – like any strategy – needs to change and develop over time, requiring an ongoing process of trial and error.

Employee education is also likely to be needed for companies to meet their data strategy potential. The Cross Channel Marketing Report, conducted by Econsultancy in September 2015, revealed that while over two-thirds of responding companies agree their 'priority is for all key marketing activities to be integrated across channels’, only 39% say they ‘understand customer journeys and adapt the channel mix accordingly'.

Bridging the Gaps Between Silos

In the same study, just 5% of respondents said their organizations were 'very much' set up to deliver effectively orchestrated cross-channel marketing activities. With so many devices now in the mix, much of the battle is understanding where data comes from and where it needs to be deployed.

Independent digital marketing consultant Mark Patron observed that ‘data connections are becoming as important as data collections’. Having and storing data is one thing, but it is redundant without the knowledge of how to assimilate and integrate it. While some data may need to be readily accessible in real-time, other data types form underlying categories and inform a wider strategy. It is important to have the correct architecture in place to store and access data appropriately.

censhare provides smart software solutions that enable businesses to successfully leverage data, support the collaboration of internal and external teams, and communicate with their audiences via an omnichannel approach with the accuracy that enterprise level companies depend on.