Get Comfortable With Your Data

Today's marketers have the luxury of having a lot of data at their disposal.  I remember back to when I first started in marketing we only had slivers of data to make decisions or we had to wait for hours or weeks for an analysis team to get you the best information available.  This luxury is both a blessing and curse.  It's great to see what's happening in real time and react to it quickly, but making short sided decisions based on early results or making decisions based purely on quantitative information could lead you to miss out on larger trends and impact.

The best way to avoid this is to get control of your data.  Your level of sophistication may vary and some of it may require some heavy lifting, but getting your data organized and turning it into information is necessary to succeed in marketing.  Dashboards are a very popular way to do this...when they are based on communicating information rather than just a data dump.  But you can't rely solely on dashboards though - that's an easy way to think you have command of what's happening but could make you lazy about other metrics that could be more important to your current situations and outlook.  Deeper analysis and review of certain campaigns and channels may be important and you have to be able to drill down into the data when necessary.

The key to organizing to your data is knowing where data will reside (both within your organization and outside it) confirming its accuracy and validity, and transforming it into useful information for both strategic and tactical decisions.  Knowing where data comes from is important because you can't get to where you want to be without knowing the source of your information - plus if the source isn't accurate it will lead you off your path and potentially have you make bad decisions.   Once you know that the process of turning data into information is critical.  You have to know what questions you want answered and what data will get you there, and the true analysts turn it into information that's actionable.  It's not just facts - it determines performance, reveals trends, and creates a path to knowledge and success.

Don't let yourself get socked in by that volumes of data you have available and don't be intimidated by it either.  Get control of your data and be comfortable with it.  Your data is an important part of making good decisions and get control of your enterprise.