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  • April 9, 2015

The four A’s of data management from Dun & Bradstreet’s Anudit Vikram

Today’s guest blog post is provided by Dun & Bradstreet’s Anudit Vikram, Chief Product Officer, Audience Solutions. Dive into the ‘Four A’s of Data Management’.

We live in a ‘knowledge’ economy. Success belongs to those who know the most about the environment they compete in. Deep knowledge about your market and your competition is paramount to this success, and nowhere is this more true than in the field of marketing.

But, what do we really mean when we say, “knowledge”? We can think of knowledge as a logical collection of information driving towards the understanding of a given concept. “Information” is the stringing together of data points which helps set a context.

For example, a tool we use every day, the alphabet, is a raw dataset that holds little meaning in its own right. But, as soon as we string together the letters and make words (e.g. ‘sun’, ‘the’ etc.) the previously raw data begins to takes on a context and a meaning. Stringing those words together in a logical grouping (‘the sun rises in the east’) brings a whole new dimension to the raw data points you started with. The data is now meaningful, interpretable and actionable.

The crux of our knowledge economy is data and thus how we manage it is a top of mind for all marketers. When focusing on the topic of audience creation and the use of data for the purposes of online marketing, a framework I describe as ‘The 4 A’s of Managing Data’ can help you simplify what can often be a heavily nuanced process.

  • The first step is to ACQUIRE the data. Data can be of various types – 1st party or 3rd party, Offline or Online, Structured or Unstructured. It can be from various channels – display, search, social, email, direct mail, CRM and so on. Whatever the source or the type of data, the management process starts with ingesting the raw assets and storing it in a manner where it can be manipulated. At this point, the volume is huge but the value is minimal.
  • Once acquired, the next step is to AGGREGATE the data into logical chunks. The process of aggregation makes the data more manageable and gives it a little more context. For example, an RTB bid stream now becomes a count of impressions, clicks and conversions in a given platform on a given day. Aggregation also prepares the data for the next step.
  • Real value can be seen only once you ANALYZE the aggregated data. You can now see what is working and what is not. You can create unique combinations of attributes and generate segments that have a meaning. You can query the aggregated data and create reports to help us answer specific business questions.

In our case, once we get to this point in the process, D&B’s Audience Solutions team can generate something tangible for any customer using the data. Isolating data within the systems that facilitate acquisition, aggregation and analysis brings no business value unless we ACTIVATE it. We do this by syndicating segments to downstream systems for targeting, and helping drive optimization in campaign management systems.

Passing data through this 4 stage process can help any business realize the true value their data by converting it into the type actionable knowledge critical to succeeding in a competitive environment.

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Photo: g-stockstudio/Shutterstock

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