“Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today’s column is written by Preethy Vaidyanathan, chief product officer at Tapad
For years marketers asked, “How do we get more data?” Now that they’ve mastered data mining, marketers want to know what’s next.
The time has come for organizations to make their abundance of digital data actionable, increase ROI and reach consumers with consistent, personalized experiences across all touchpoints. A seamless consumer experience can only be achieved by consolidating digital data.
Organizations, however, are finding that consolidating data silos is more time-consuming and complicated than initially expected.
One of the most pervasive obstacles companies face in when consolidating data is adopting inefficient and costly tactics that quickly become outdated. For instance, over the last couple of years, many companies turned to enterprise data warehouses to consolidate data silos, but some were too expensive or poorly suited for raw, unstructured and semi-structured data. This led companies to adopt data management initiatives, which bogged down many enterprises.
Perception among senior level executives is another challenge. Many still question the need for digital transformation – achieving greater efficiencies through updating business and organizational processes with new technologies. Gartner found that more than half (54%) of senior executives say their digital business objective is transformational, while 46% say their objective is optimization.
Digital transformation and data consolidation require time and effort. So, many large organizations work to overcome data silos as part of a multiyear digital transformation versus an immediate action item, delaying the benefits the company sees from taking on this project.
All of these challenges make delaying progress in data consolidation easy, but companies should remember the impetus for doing so: creating a seamless customer experience that, in turn, drives business results. Brands with higher quality customer experience grow revenue faster than direct competitors with lower quality customer experience.
Many brands go into the digital transformation process assuming they have massive amounts of customer data, and that much of it is valuable or will be in the future. They might spend months aggregating that data in data stores or data lakes – at great expense.
The trouble is that their data was scattered across multiple databases, which means it’s highly fragmented. As a result of this fragmentation, marketers can’t activate their data in ways that enhance the customer experience.
To do so, companies must ensure their digital data is highly flexible so it can provide a holistic view of the consumer journey across every digital, in-store, in-venue and offline channel.
I’d recommend that organizations taking on data centralization initiatives prioritize use cases that offer the company the greatest benefit. This is where organizations should establish a “crawl, walk, run” approach to data centralization to ensure key executives buy into the process. Starting with a subset of use cases, such as customer retention or upsell, or with a campaign, which is an even smaller starting point, allows executives to see the benefits of data consolidation projects relatively quickly. Once they validate these initial benefits, they can expand the range of use cases or campaigns, as well as the marketing ROI for their business.
While data centralization is a long-term project that may take several years to complete, it doesn’t mean a business can’t get started now and see measurable results quickly. Break down data consolidation into stages so the organization can experience wins along the way. At the end of the day, data consolidation will help organizations deliver more effective marketing campaigns that drive business growth.