Why You Need a Data Partner

August 29, 2019 Ginna Hall

Traditional media is evolving, with new channels emerging. But the basics haven’t changed. Brands and their agency partners need to know who their audience is, which channels they use, and how to get them to act.

Longer customer journeys that have more touchpoints cause data fragmentation. The average marketer doesn’t have the ability to consolidate data to understand the influence of touchpoints across digital and traditional channels.

At the same time, an industry-wide focus on enhancing consumer privacy and data security has raised the bar for trust and transparency. New regulations and technology changes make collecting, tracking, measuring and other data-related practices more challenging.

Analyzing marketing effectiveness is arduous as marketers struggle to get accurate and actionable results.

Relying on Disparate Data Sets

In terms of understanding the consumer journey, there’s a lot that marketers are trying to tackle. Marketers are realizing that they don’t have all of the data they need to tell a full story about their consumer.

"If everyone’s only measuring what they do, that creates an imperfect and incomplete picture for the organization.”

Because marketers realize they don’t have a full picture, they have to rely on different data sources. But to enable different sources to come together, you need to have the glue that connects information from one data set to another.

All of the data that is available is not sitting within any one place. Marketers need to tie together disparate data sources in a relevant way that gives an accurate picture of consumer activities. You need reference data and information to unify data sets in a valuable way. That’s what our clients are looking for today.

This means that marketers don’t have everything in-house. They have to rely on different players for pulling that data together and partners to help them do it in an accurate way. All of that big data spells opportunity but it’s a lot harder than everyone realizes to use it effectively and accurately. 

Data Itself Is Not Enough

But data itself is not enough. You need to be able to interpret it and understand the connection points between one data set and another. You have to identify what part of that data is accurate and valuable and what part can’t serve you.

Technology is the enabler. The glue lets you tie information together in a privacy-compliant way. Our data science studio helps companies interrogate two data sets that can’t actually exist together for legal or privacy reasons. When you tie them together and create an outcome, a measurement of what happened, each of those data sets enriches the other. 

There’s other sorts of data that helps you understand what’s happened. Nielsen has reference data for every product actually being sold including all of the attributes of a product—granular information about whether it’s gluten free or vegan or organic for example. This allows brands to recognize what kinds of trends are out there and what’s being driven. This is a key that helps you interpret data that you have access to.

Creating a Holistic View

There are other things that marketers can do to understand consumer journeys. They can look at how their organizations drive and support various media channels. They can unify their teams and not have silos with different people responsible for different parts of the consumer journey.

If everyone’s only measuring what they do, that creates an imperfect and incomplete picture for the organization. Who is tying all that together and who is setting the priorities for the greater good, instead of each individual pillar? As the ecosystem evolves, think about how you are adapting your organizational structure to better reflect the customer journey.

There are lots of advertisers looking expansively across media investments but forgetting about other marketing tactics and strategies around pricing, promotion, shipping and all the other incentives that are also in play. Looking at that whole picture is extremely important in terms of understanding the total consumer journey. 

The big headline is that anytime you’re looking at a fraction of the equation, or arbitrarily deciding to evaluate only one part of the equation and not looking at the full picture, is when you get outages in your view of the customer journey. 

The takeaway for marketers? Don’t try to do everything in-house. Rely on partners to pull data together accurately and help you understand the connection points between one data set and another.

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