Living among so much data is a blessing and a curse. We have access to more customer information than ever before, with 7.9 zettabytes of phone numbers, digital behaviors, and biometric data generated in a single year.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of that information is stored in inaccessible formats that render it all but useless.
Too often, partner organizations attempt to share data only to realize that they’re operating disparate systems that can’t communicate. In many cases, businesses find that their internal silos create their biggest data hurdles.
As leaders try to provide their teams with up-to-the-minute analytics, they add data systems piecemeal into their workflows, never pausing to wonder whether these tools can play nice. Before they know it, they’re pulling consumer information from 15 different pipelines that can’t interface with one another.
With every department working off different information on disconnected systems, it’s all but impossible to make substantial progress.
Non-integrated data systems are especially problematic for marketers. Consider a finance organization that owns its true revenue numbers but can’t provide the marketing agency it has hired with access to those records.
Marketers can’t address the demands of a multichannel, multiscreen world without accurately interpreted, readily available, integrated data. The latter is particularly important because you need a full understanding of the customer experience if you want to improve it.
After all, you can’t build a better narrative if you know only half the story.
Better Data Begins With Integration
Integrated data systems depend on collaboration and open communication. They rely on strong safety and privacy protocols, and they enable teams from across an organization to interpret and use information effectively.
But before you can create a high-functioning data system, your key stakeholders must be on the same page about your data philosophy.
Everyone must understand the importance of integrated data and should be willing to work across departments to remove barriers to cooperation. Doing so will reduce costs, improve workflows, and lead to better, more cohesive output throughout the company.
The following tips will help you strengthen your data collection efforts and take your organization to the next level:
1. Facilitate cross-partner data structuring
Rather than thinking of your data systems by department, plan as though you’re always going to knit your data together. The marketing team may need to pull information from sales, IT, or human resources to build out its campaigns.
You can support such integration by standardizing your data collection and analysis processes. Streamlining your workflows will also keep your teams aligned on core organizational goals.
2. Centralize data ownership
Establish an information hub where you collect, store, and process data. This includes historical records that could provide useful context for future campaigns.
Audit your existing databases to find out what types of information you already own. Then funnel those into the centralized repository so everyone can draw on it to make better-informed decisions.
Knowing how customers have responded to past initiatives can provide helpful guidance as you create new brand materials.
3. Document best practices for data collaboration
If you presented each department head with the same set of information, you’d likely get a different interpretation from each. It’s very easy for people to misread data or to filter it through a biased lens.
Creating a shared process for reading and applying data ensures that all messaging is on brand and that team members agree about what the numbers indicate. Cohesion among the marketing team will lead to better, higher-quality campaigns.
When everyone has access to the same data, you bring your best minds to bear on the company’s challenges. If only a handful of people can see the information and they’re not even communicating about it, you’re limiting the range of ideas and applications that could come from that data.
An integrated approach drives faster, more effective results.
Sabrina Chamberlain is SVP, Experience Analytics at RAPP LA.