Four tips for managing the big data supply chain
- Posted: 18th July 2019
Data: it’s the foundation of every modern business. But not all data is created equal, and in an age of increasingly strict regulation, it’s important to go beyond amassing as much information as possible. You need to think about its quality.
In the course of gathering this data, it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. Managing your information effectively means learning how to set up your big data supply chain to fuel your commercial and operational goals. Here’s how you can do just that.
Be more discerning with your data
The specific information you collect will ultimately depend on your company’s goals. Data can come from different sources – and some sources are more valuable than others. Managing your data supply chain means getting the mix right as much as possible.
First-party data is likely the most valuable: it comes straight from your customers and prospects.
Second-party data doesn’t. You acquire it by purchasing another organisation’s first-party data. It has more limited applicability, because combining two or more data sets (especially a mix of online and offline data) can be a complicated undertaking. It is occasionally useful for filling in some of the blanks in your own data sets, though.
Third-party data is information you’ve bought ‘off-the-shelf’: anyone can buy it, it’s more likely to break the law, and it’s usually less useful than the other kind because there’s no guarantee that it will give you the insights you require.
Your data supply chain should have a mix of all three, but it will ideally favour first-party data as much as possible.
Maintain data hygiene
One of the worst side-effects of the ‘more, more, more’ tendency in data collection is that a lot of the information you gather isn’t just irrelevant to you as a marketer – it’s useless in general. What use is there in keeping your customer’s old address details and defunct phone numbers? Why retain the information of customers who haven’t engaged in a decade, and aren’t likely to again?
Doing so is not only invasive, it’s a waste of time. All that bad data makes it harder to find the good. One of GDPR’s more beneficial side-effects is that it’s compelled businesses to justify how they collect and organise data. As important as it is to gather information that you do need, it’s equally important to make sure you get rid of information that you don’t in good time.
Accordingly, it’s wise to conduct regular data hygiene checks to make sure the information you’re working with is compliant – and useful. This will lead to better results for your team.
Build a more comprehensive data set
Data collection is about the fundamentals, to be sure: knowing the name, address, and gender of your prospect can stop you sending them embarrassingly inaccurate marketing communications. But it’s also about building a more sophisticated customer profile with qualitative, quantitative, and descriptive data – also known as a Single Customer View (SCV). That means enriching your existing datasets.
This in turn often means combining second and third-party information from external sources – enhancing the data you have to drive more intelligent insights. This typically entails demographic data enrichment, which encompasses information such as income levels and marital status, and geographic data enrichment, which means adding postal details and latitudinal/longitudinal information to the data set.
The specific type of information, of course, doesn’t matter: what does matter is that it’s relevant. Make sure it aligns with your business’ overarching goals.
The way you store your customer and prospect information can dictate the shape and quality of your marketing efforts.
Technology companies are offering customer data platforms (CDPs), which promise a unified, persistent view of individual customer profiles, accessible by all relevant systems and updated in real-time. These systems make it easy to avoid fragmenting your data sets and creating data silos.
But the platform isn’t the important bit: the important bit is that you work to improve accessibility across the board. If you are using a CDP, make sure it’s integrated with all data gathering platforms: from social media to CRM systems to analytics tools. The more unified your customer data, the more accurate your customer profile – and the more cohesive your customer experience.
Looking for ways to maximise your customer data and generate better marketing results?