We are entering a world where business and marketing teams are looking to build data driven strategies. They have access to bucket loads of data but do not know how to use the data. Or better known as “data rich, information poor”.
Data quality has huge implications on any data set we are using. The management of data is key and that is core to building a business and marketing base. This is where many businesses fall at the first hurdle. Think of a table with 4 legs at any given time one or two legs are removed then glued back on which creates instability how the table balances. Now think about how business manage their data there are similarities.
Building a business and marketing base should be a fundamental requirement of the overall business strategy. This would normally sit within ‘marketing’, but it has a vertical impact on the business where there needs to be an alignment with key stakeholders. Investment needs to be made internally or externally to ensure that the base aligns with the business requirements.
What is the base?
The business and marketing base is having absolute trust in the data allowing different teams to answer business questions and generate insights from the data available.
The base is about having quality data and long data over an extended period i.e., minimum 5 years. The data should be able to provide trends and depth of data points across multiple data sources.
Defining the base
As a business, how you define success will dictate the base. Developing a well-defined measurement strategy and KPI framework is vital. Which KPI’s, metrics and data points are required for the business to build the base.
Building the base
The base is built around an infrastructure of how the data flows and that varies by the different business models. For most business in this new world, it would be based around two key areas:
Website & App Data
For many businesses and the boom of e-commerce understanding your website and sales data becomes critical but having the right structure cannot be underestimated.
Creating a structure around development, staging and production for website and mobile app should be a minimum requirement. On more than one occasion I have seen that there is only a production live set-up available. Making it high risk for bad data to be sent into Google Analytics or a technical fix on the production live website fails sending bad data into Google Analytics. These have huge consequences on building the base.
Getting this structure in place is the first step but there needs to be a rigorous process and understanding in how it is all managed.
Control and Owning data sources
Business are wanting to own their data and have a single source of truth to generate greater insights and better measurement. Data lake and data warehouse are core to this strategy providing flexibility which businesses need. How the data is stored and managed is key to building the base. With ELT (Extract, Load and Transform) a popular approach the raw data can be stored in tables which can be manipulated when it comes to answering business questions.
Maintaining the base
How the base is maintained has consequences on the ability to answer business questions and prove the value of marketing. The challenge is maintaining the base across multiple data sets. The main obstacles to keeping a solid base are data quality across multiple data sets, website re-design, platform migrations and integrations. Defining and building the base are instrumental in the process of maintaining the base.
Example 1: The bad – Migration goes wrong
This is a regular theme where a website migration is not planned out and the main KPI’s stop tracking and they are not tracked over an extended period. The role of tag managers in today’s ecosystem makes the process seamless so tracking inefficiencies should not be happening.
Example 2: The good – The base is maintained
5 years of data with a website re-design and platform migration the base has been maintained. This is one big step towards maintaining the base but also how you manage other data sources is essential within the data lake and data warehouse.
Getting the base right is the most important thing any business can do. The flexibility and options it can provide are endless but also allowing creativity in how the data can be looked at which would not have been viable previously.
The business and marketing base is essential to long term growth. Disregarding its importance could have severe implications on the business.