Nov
16
2012

Feast or famine: how to avoid data indigestion

So you’ve got lots of data, but do you know what to analyse and which metrics to use?

I spend a lot of time talking to clients from a wide range of sectors about their headaches and of course looking for ways to take away the pain. And if there is one single theme that unites clients with an online presence today, it’s the challenge of making sense of the vast array of data they now have available to them.

There’s a real risk that databases become bloated with masses of unused data, gathered at great expense, leading to a rather bad case of indigestion for all concerned.

We’ve come a long way since the days when a junior exec or even the intern was put in charge of managing a few keywords and sending out a generic email to customers. The performance of digital marketing is a c-level concern now, with everything from attribution analysis and KPI dashboards on the radar of the CMO or FD.

But how can you know what to analyse and what metrics to focus on? Here are my tips for avoiding data indigestion:

  1. Just because you can access a huge range of search, email and purchasing data, doesn’t mean you should. Don’t get blinded by the vast amount of data out there. Start by identifying the behaviours of your most valuable customers, and what you need to drive those behaviours in other customers. Using this rationale focuses the mind on the information needed and makes the evaluation of which multichannel data to use a much easier decision.
  2. Develop a channel-agnostic data segmentation strategy.
    Design a segmentation strategy that underpins all your marketing activity regardless of channel. Best practice is to create a segmentation set that is common currency across the whole of the business. It informs every decision and is the source of information on how to target and understand customers. Clearly ‘consistent’ is not the same as ‘static’, so continual development and refinement of segmentation sets is essential as markets evolve.
  3. Always seek out channel solutions that are aligned with your segmentation strategy.
    Whilst traditional channels such as direct mail, email, SMS and outbound calling have been used to deploy segmentation, digital channels are becoming just as targetable. For instance segmentation has proven successful for on-site content- serving and digital advertising whilst social media (Facebook) lends itself well to micro-targeting. 

Keep the customer at the heart of what you do.
Customer-centricity, data and insight is our mantra; make it yours.  Learn from one of our clients: a major financial services brand’s mantra is to only use data to the benefit of the customers, in other words to responsibly offer the customer products and services which they know they can afford and which could be of benefit to them.

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