Data is key to engaging customers, but collecting the data is merely the starting point. From there, marketers must be ready to analyze and integrate data sets, have the right technology to put data to use, and then create systems in which data use is the first step. Then, come the data shortfalls – areas in which not enough data is collected or in which the data is used improperly. Here are four tips to identify and correct a data shortfall.
First, create a strategy
“Smart strategy and execution require a disciplined approach to information– a systematic way of identifying and learning what you should know but don’t–about your market, your customers, your opportunities and your marketing and sales performance. You have all the data, you have put it to good use but somehow you may not be shining. The reason could be that you may not be facing some data shortfalls. This begs the question: what information are you missing? And do you know what you don’t know?” said Anil Kaul, Co-Founder & CEO, AbsolutData.
Second, have data discipline
“Have the right data discipline with a list of data gaps. Data gaps are key pieces of information that are missing in planning and/or execution. Data gaps can identify important pieces of information about customers, sales prospects, the market in which you operate, competition and your internal performance,” said Kaul. “Think broadly about data gaps – gaps can be found in the upfront strategy setting and at all stages of execution. Have a data strategy in place, chalk out a plan including your data goals, the sources of data you would refer, type of data you may need, the tools you will use to refine the data etc. which will act as your checklist later. Don’t assume that information cannot be obtained. With the right data sources, tools, technology and analyses chances are you could know more than you do now–and dramatically improve execution.”
Third, create a best practices document
“Have a best practices document developed for internal reference. Make sure people on your team with related and even adjacent goals are on the same page about the data gaps that exist or have a process to get there. Sales and marketing need to be aligned, because customer knowledge and analytics are the fuel that drives results, and data is the glue that connects sales and marketing,” said Kaul.
Fourth, hire a consultant or auditor to look at processes
“Get your process in line by a consultant or internally audited for finding out the data shortfalls and take responsibility for filling data gaps. Fill these gaps- with third party data, market research, analytics and the right technology/tools to unleash data you currently have in-house,” said Kaul. “Develop a data matrix, which will complement your performance matrix and become a subset of your every deliverable. It helps to decide which gaps are acceptable and which ones are not, and then prioritizing the gaps to fill to be filled and how.”