If you analyzed your business today, how many data points would you say you have captured? How many did you actively collect? How many were analyzed? Biggest question: what did you do with the data?
In today’s digital world, we are not only overwhelmed by the various platforms, tools, and interactions that create data points, but now that world is turned on its head as changes become more and more a reality. As discussed in our article on first-party data, Google and Apple are making waves with their elimination of cookies and pixels, forcing companies to play their part in collecting data in their own ways or through the custom methods of others.
In this article, I will cover the second step after data collection: what should I do with it when you have it. Marketing-Ideas has had to adapt and identify other methods of data collection and use, and I’m glad we did! Not only will these changes be something you need to make, but they need to be something that every business owner wants to do.
Building a business strategy based on the data you collect is more important than ever and can help you gain a leg up over your competitors.
What is a data strategy and why does it matter?
A data strategy is a mission or vision you have as a company to leverage data that you primarily collect.
Once you have a mission, your data strategy outlines your methods, business goals, and objectives for fulfilling that strategy. With data overload, organization is the key, and laying out a data strategy is the first step in a long journey.
Without clearly stating your data strategy, it will be messy to force business goals and collection. By clearly defining it as a business plan, your data strategy becomes a different part of your business.
All this being said, an effective data strategy also allows you to centralize your efforts. It is very common to adopt too many technologies or platforms for data collection and analysis, obscuring the accuracy lines of your data and wasting money.
With a clearly defined data strategy you will be able to:
Maintain privacy and compliance with personal data Find efficiency in your organization Give better results to your customers Analyze and discover new trends or insights that are useful to your business or your customers’ Back your decisions with more data and find better business results
How to build a data strategy
When I was building the Marketing-Ideas data strategy, the first question I asked myself was, “What problems are we trying to solve?” Thus, you uncover the true purpose behind your strategy. The key here is not to look to collect as much as possible, but to identify what you need to collect to meet your goals.
Here are the questions you can ask yourself or your team:
What problems am I trying to solve? What data should I collect? Where does my data come from? How do I collect my data? Do I remain compatible with collecting and analyzing this data? How do I analyze my data? Who owns my data – do I, do the source, etc.? Who manages my data strategy? How do I share this data with the public or my team? How does this data affect my internal operations?
To draw on the experience of our digital marketing agencies, we set up our data strategy on four pillars:
How do we give our customers the best results by combining knowledge and data in a practical way?
What organizational data helps us make decisions about how we run our business?
What data would be most useful to our customers, and how do we make it specific for them to easily “connect” to?
What data allows us to have a voice in the industry and provide insights that others do not have?
I share this method with a successful data strategy because we have found it extremely useful in creating a roadmap that helps us achieve our business goals. By dragging columns to your data strategy, you begin to find strong goals related to each column. It is clear to define these pillars and the questions they answer, organize, centralize and optimize how you use your data.
Here is a brief sample of our data strategy a sheet:
How do I collect my data?
From a technical perspective, it is also important to outline or diagram how to collect data. In our same data strategy, we clearly define this technical process and encourage all readers to do the same:
Other good resources
Bernard Marr has a great data strategy template that we took a lot of inspiration from. This is a good first step to outlining the columns.
Similarly – Dataversity provides a comprehensive step-by-step guide to creating a data strategy.
Things to stay away from (Don’ts of Data Strategy)
Do not subscribe to all analytics or CDP (customer data platform) you can. This only adds more chaos to your data strategy and does not help you consolidate your sources. Do not try to mess up. Tinkering is great at first, but the more you try to run small reports or insights, the more you lose sight of your pillars or main vision. Avoid fudging the data. Always stick to the data. Do not try to paint your own picture by facade or fudging the numbers in the process. Do not forget the business case or the context. Many times data is presented with a “loose” approach. It is easy to present data, it is more valuable to provide content and insights that come with it. Do not forget compliance or privacy. Now is the best time to do something about privacy laws. It is important to collect data, but doing so illegally can be detrimental to your business.
Developing a successful data strategy for your business is more imperative now than ever. This allows you to have a leg up in a changing world and clearly define your goals for what is essentially a new arm for your business. By following some of our questions to ask yourself above or the resources added, you can develop an effective data strategy and create an action plan for your own business. Once established, the implementation of these initiatives opens up a whole new world for you and your business through data collection and analysis only.
Still not sure how to develop your own data strategy? Marketing-Ideas would love to help! Contact john@Marketing-ideas.org for a free consultation.