What is data standardization and why is it a must-have for any marketing strategy?

  • Posted: 26th September 2019
data standardisation

Data is without a doubt the foundation that all businesses are built on today. But without having that data available in a consistent format you run the risk of much of that data being misinterpreted or misunderstood by those who need it most. Data standardization allows you to accumulate and build solid customer information and therefore construct a fact-based marketing strategy.

Standardizing data is the critical process of bringing data into a common format that allows for collaboration, comprehensive analytics, and sharing of sophisticated tools and methodologies. Effective standardization is reliant on the ability to transform and manipulate data into a single consistent format regardless of the multiple systems, formats and repositories in which it lives. It also eradicates the need to put multiple checks in place as a result of distrust by the people who rely on that data.

Why is standardizing customer data important?

The need for data standardization has grown exponentially as data sources in marketing become more and more diverse, with multiple advertising, marketing and sales channels. It saves costs, increases customer acquisition and satisfaction, and improves competitiveness. 

From a marketing strategy perspective, standardized data will improve decision-making. For instance, if you have outdated or inaccurate customer data, not even the most advanced analytics or business intelligence software will produce your much-needed insights. Conversely, cleansed and standardized data, will allow greater accuracy to better inform decisions and provide clear forecasts. 

In addition, many organizations currently collect data in free format which usually leads to a variety of errors. Standardizing your data fixes inconsistent capitalization, punctuation, acronyms, non-alphanumeric characters, and values in the wrong fields. Any disparities in such data formats – no matter how insignificant – could result in misrepresentations, introducing systematic analytics errors that can negatively affect your marketing or sales success.

How to standardise data

Standardization takes all data collected across disparate sources and, based on predefined rules, converts it into consistent, usable format. To achieve this successfully, take the following four steps:

  • Account for all your data sources
  • Involve a diverse range of stakeholders
  • Standardize external sources (open-ended forms in particular)
  • Use filters to organize the data you already own

The data jungle is vast and diverse, but with the right tools and data standards, you can standardize the most complicated data sets. And with more consistent data, it becomes easier, faster and more cost-efficient to analyze and uncover trends.

Tools for data standardization

Stringent data privacy and legislation such as GDPR makes it more important than ever to use customer information in a responsible, relevant, and safe fashion, particularly when it comes to marketing activities. Data has a complex lifecycle and you must be sure to handle it carefully and proactively – from collection to cleansing and standardization.

Data management software companies such as Tealium can help you manage this lifecycle in an efficient, responsible and compliant way, collecting information from websites, devices, servers, files, kiosks, and other sources. Data collected through products such as Tealium iQ Tag Management and Tealium EventStream is then standardized in the data layer, which drives usage of data for customer engagement and analysis.

Tealium also uses extensions to allow collected, standardized data to be changed as needed for use in other systems, to increase data quality, or increase data security, among other use cases.

Looking for marketing technology services? Celerity is a certified partner of Adobe Marketing CloudSalesforce Marketing Cloud, and the Tealium Universal Data Hub.

For an initial data standardization consultation, contact us today.