We are in a world now where business and marketing teams are building data driven strategies. They have access to zettabytes 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 naturally 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 set-up of tech allowing a high level of quality 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 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 it would be based around two key areas:
The Technical Base
For many businesses the e-commerce channel is driving the need to better understand customer journeys, behaviours, acquisitions etc with website analytics (mainly Google Analytics). 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. In most cases there is only a production live set-up available. Which makes it high risk for bad data to be sent into Google Analytics via a technical fix on the production live website which fails. These have huge consequences on building the base.
The kind of the structure that is deployed is very much dependent on the business size, the process with the different teams testing etc and the risk of bad data.
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.
With the growth of cloud solutions and data warehouses now Google Analytics (GA4) is providing a free connector to Big Query which has many uses cases in how to get the most out of it. With data quality being the goal then having a BQ (or any other data warehouse that is piping in the data) set-up against development, staging and production is the most robust solution.
The Data base
With brands wanting to have more control over their data and have that a ‘single source of truth’ to generate greater insights and do better measurement. A data warehouse is core to this strategy providing flexibility which businesses need with the vast data requirements. 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.
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.
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.
Understanding the data
Merging data sources is very powerful, it can be complex and simplified as creating a match rate dashboard. It’s multi-purpose for many within the business from developers to ensure nothing is broken to marketing and media teams to prove how right the data is within the platforms and dashboards. The match rate dashboard helps validate the quality of data.
(Match rate % is calculated from using Shopify and Google Analytics data)
Understanding the business impact
To understand business impact, it will require bringing in external data sources such as share of search data which will provide huge amount of insights on the performance v its competitors and how that is translating into business performance. Share of search or equivalent should become a central to the base data that is used.
Getting the technical and data base spot-on 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 performance and growth.