Large and small organizations alike have felt the demands to acquire more data and extract better insights that fuel business impact. According to McKinsey, 86% of recent survey respondents believed they could do much better with data, with only 25% saying they use data weekly to understand customer needs and 9% admitting they never use data at all.
A recent Forrester article also points to the rising importance, as many larger organizations fill a seat at the executive table with a Chief Data Officer (CDO). What most in the role have in common is the “responsibility and accountability for all things data, from capture all the way through to its use to drive business value.” So, what does it take to move from basic dashboards and reports to advanced analytics and actionable insights for business growth? From my perspective, it’s time to start thinking like a data boss in these four areas:
- Data Collection
Getting the most value from data starts with internal data collection, from customer and prospect contact data to website analytics and key search terms. But as Forrester notes, it’s not just about locking down the data a business already has; the added value of a CDO comes from facilitating, discovering and encouraging data access at all points, as well as promoting data use whenever possible.
Because the potential for insights grows with the more data you have, Forrester says internal data isn’t enough. More than 70% of data decision-makers are expanding their ability to use external data, with an additional 17% planning to do so in the next year. It takes a layered approach with data from multiple sources to get the best insights that drive actions and get results.
When it comes to acquisition contact data, quality third-party data expands marketing reach and offers a wider net to cast for campaigns. For example, businesses targeting SMB and SOHO (small office home office) customers often turn to OMI because we’ve focused on this market for years, with an SMB-SOHO database spanning more than 50 million business contacts, making it one of the largest of its kind. Turning to a specialist can assist you in targeting the right prospects you otherwise couldn’t reach.
- Organizing & Accessing
Efforts to utilize and get the full value from data will fall flat if the data isn’t effectively organized and accessible to the necessary groups and tools. As the Forrester article puts it, businesses need to get their “data house in order.”
Collecting and making data usable can be challenging due to the data siloes that often occur in larger organizations. New data has to be captured, integrated and added to existing systems. In 2020, there were more than 8,000 solutions on the MarTech 5000 list. It’s vital that these supporting systems and tools work together to automatically share data, so marketers have access to all of the relevant data in one place. Many are turning to customer data platforms (CDP) to connect fragmented data into a central location. where we highlight organizational use of the data.
Utilizing data to its full potential is more than just acquisition and organization, it also requires constant upkeep – especially for customer and prospect contact data. Studies have shown that B2B contact data regularly decays at a rate of up to 70% per year. And with everything that’s happened this past year, data decay is at an all-time high. Using bad data can be costly and comes with significant risks of landing on spam blacklists, but a database cleansing service can automate the process of removing, correcting and replacing inaccurate data.
- Leveraging Data for Insights
According to Forrester, 85% of decision-makers prioritize the use of data insights. And while there are many ways to leverage insights, here are a few of the top ways organizations are translating them into real business impact:
- Identity Graphs: Identity graphs enable marketers to build custom audiences –audiences that tightly align with their offers -- by pulling high-quality data from a vast array of sources. Once the custom audience is built, anonymized IDs are then created within the identity graph to ensure data privacy. The IDs are then securely taken to a demand-side platform (DSP) to deliver targeted ads or other digital campaigns. Identity graphs enable a deeper and more complete view of prospects, allowing marketers to better identify the right decision-makers for their offers and engage more effectively with them. And if the data supplier has a high match rate – as OMI does in the LiveRamp identity graph – you can easily create a follow-up email campaign for the same audience (minus whichever records didn’t match). Or you can retarget those contacts who opened or clicked on your message.
This innovative data strategy elevates digital marketing initiatives by reaching the right targets at scale, with high-quality data—and without the hassles of dealing with multiple data providers or worrying about data privacy concerns.
- Intent Data: These insights can indicate who’s ready to buy and when. Intent data insights are obtained when buyers’ online activities are anonymously monitored, captured and analyzed based on website visits, content downloads, product reviews, registration for webinars, etc. They can be used to improve and tailor email campaigns, content marketing, programmatic advertising, account-based marketing and more. As well, they not only empower marketers to identify buyer interest but also augment lead scoring, account prioritization and the process of analyzing and retaining customers. At OMI, we monitor more than 14 billion new intent signals each week.
- AI: Tools that provide daily strategies, data and insights regarding the changes the search engines make to their algorithms every day can arm businesses with the knowledge they need to rank their target keywords and reduce the time it takes to increase rankings. It can also be applied to content creation, with AI integration tools changing out campaign wording to know what works best and automatically adapt phrasing to drive success.
- Democratize Your Data
For the greatest impact, CDOs need to be well-rounded, taking a leadership role while also teaching what they know and encouraging innovation with their teams. To get full value out of their data, CDOs must also identify where knowledge gaps exist: some employee segments either don’t have the know-how or aren’t in position to interpret relevant data and act on it in real-time. Putting training, processes, structures and tools in place to empower these employees to make actionable use of data reports, for example, increases the likelihood that they'll be able to course-correct in real-time, thereby increasing overall impact on the business.
Whether your organization has a CDO or not, these and other responsibilities must be prioritized for your business to gain a competitive edge. Regardless of your title, you can be a data boss – and data can be your biggest business asset if it’s treated that way.
Outward Media’s proven data cleansing services and targeted, accurate B2B data can enable you to achieve better digital marketing ROI and, ultimately, convert more prospects into customers. Go here to find out about leveraging our SMB and medical market data on the LiveRamp Data Marketplace.