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Data management: Essential best practices for getting started

Steve Olenski
Master Principal Sales Architect

Data is the fuel of all our marketing activities. Our customers and prospective buyers are savvy, empowered, and carry high expectations for personalization across all interactions. Without the right data—at the right time—as well as the most effective strategies in place to manage our data sources, our communications and offers are dead on arrival.

A one-size-fits-all approach to marketing is not a sound tactic—it’s a marketing fruitcake that no one wants to receive. It’s time to get down with data to delight your audience and provide them with the personal experiences they deserve.

The copy above is an excerpt from our guide Modern Marketing Essentials Guide to Data Management and is a great overview of the guide and also is a good intro for this post in which we call out some of the best practices for getting started from the guide itself.

It’s A Jungle Out There And The Big Data Beast Is Yours To Tame

By now you have heard more than enough about Big Data and while you may or may not have a handle on it, one thing is for sure: There is more data available right now for marketers than at any point in history.

One of the first things marketers need to do is understand the different types of data that is out there.

  • 1st Party Data: Quite simply this is your data. It’s the data that you have collected from the actions or behaviors of visitors to your website combined with data in your customer relationship management (CRM) systems, social media data, subscription data, or multi-channel data gleaned from mobile sites or apps.Data Management #1
  • 2nd Party Data: This is essentially someone else’s first-party data that you can use to help achieve your marketing goals. For example, you can form a mutually beneficial relationship with another company whereby you each share your respective first-party data.
  • 3rd Party Data: This data is consolidated from websites and social media platforms other than your own.Third-party data helps marketers reach a wider audience, and when used in conjunction with a campaign, can help marketers reach more diverse and targeted audience groups.

Reality Check

The next thing marketers need to do is have a good old-fashioned reality check, which when it comes to data comes in two distinct forms.

  1. A data audit
  2. An honest self-assessment

The data audit is just what the words imply: an audit of all the data that you currently have or "The process of conducting a data audit to assess how company’s data is fit for given purpose. This involves profiling the data and assessing the impact of poor quality data on the organization’s performance and profits.”

That's one definition and surely there are others but you get the idea. As to where the data comes from via an audit:

  • Website
  • CRM
  • Business Intelligence (BI)
  • Mobile Site and Applications
  • Email (Interactions or scoring tracked through marketing automation)
  • Social Media
  • And more...

As for the honest self-assessment, we've identified three main states you can find yourself and your organization in when it comes to data. And you can’t progress to the next unless you have solved the challenges of where you are:

  1. Your data is dirt. This is the scariest situation. You have a database or several that you wouldn’t bank on being even 30% accurate. DO THIS: Get a solid data cleansing plan in place and do it! Unabashedly throw out the bad.
  2. Your databases are segregated. You are confident in the quality of your customer data, but it is all still separated in bins. Making decisions and strategies involves gathering info from all over the place. This is not scalable. DO THIS: Explore ways to integrate your data collection and reporting.
  3. Data is good. Data is linked. But you KNOW there’s more you can do. At this level of data sophistication, anything you can do to even incrementally improve performance would be welcome. DO THIS: Get practical ideas for turning your data into meaningful marketing actions.
Next Step

The above is a good starting point when it comes to data management. But there's a lot more to the story of course.

The next thing you need to do is download Modern Marketing Essentials Guide to Data Management to get the rest of the story because once marketers start focusing on usable data, even more sources of information come to fruition—providing both a valuable and challenging concept to tackle.

Data Management Cover

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