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Data Centricity: A Strategic Business Advantage during the Coronavirus Pandemic

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The Coronavirus pandemic has shined a spotlight on a number of business strengths and weaknesses. One such example is the critical importance of first-party data and overall data strategies. Businesses that have prioritized data will weather the storm more effectively than those that haven’t.

Data centricity has been a critical priority for many businesses over the years. According to the 2020 IAB Data-Centric Organization Report by the Winterberry Group, nearly half of organizations (47%) consider themselves data-centric.

However, it is more than mere investment in data that will put an organization ahead of its peers, it is the investment in platforms, people, partners, processes, and most importantly data privacy.

In a pandemic environment that changes week-by-week, having visibility and agility makes all the difference to be able to pivot and adapt. Let’s put this in practice.

People – It’s not enough to have data, you need people who can make sense of it. Data scientists and those that can analyze how customers and specific markets are reacting in real-time has never been more critical.

Data is only as good as the human touch that can make both rational and emotional decisions during this time. According to the IAB / Winterberry report, the most valuable talents are those that can manage data (75%) and data science (predictive analytics, measurement, etc.) (66%). Here are how these roles contribute during a Coronavirus pandemic environment:

For example, consumers have stopped asking their voice assistants about the weather, and now human beings need to leverage those new patterns to help their businesses make decisions.

Platforms – With so many systems and capabilities available, it has become common within companies for customer data to be broadly fragmented AND difficult to integrate. 

Platforms with simple, standardized integration capabilities help companies optimally leverage and gain insights into aggregated audience data is critical.

For example, one online food delivery service identified an underperforming local market who by comparison, lagged behind in visual images of menu items on their website. In response, the online service first worked with restaurants to increase the image quantity and, secondly hired professional photographers to document how Airbnb visitors experienced the local dining options.

Partners- Half of the companies say that partners aid delivering data-driven insights. For example, most major consumer brands have leveraged insights to pivot their message during this time, away from a more direct sell to a cause-related message.

For example, brands are relying more heavily on artificial intelligence to understand in real-time how their customers are behaving and where they are engaging online.

Processes – The new data-centric organization is less centralized in its approach and therefore more “fleet of foot”. This allows companies in uncertain times to move faster, make changes, and be more responsive in their customer messaging and approaches.

For example, one data-centric IAB member acknowledges the amazing amount of data at their disposal. They are laser-focused on developing an implementation plan applying data governance processes to create more data consistency across the organization.

Privacy & Data Compliance – Those that are still figuring out the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) data regulations are taking resources away from running their business. As of January 2020, only 20% of organizations felt prepared for CCPA. Not being prepared, can not only garner distrust with consumers, but could also take resources away from what is really important during this time.

For example, one data-centric IAB member acknowledges the amazing amount of data at their disposal. They are laser-focused on developing an implementation plan applying data governance processes to create more data consistency across the organization.

Post-Coronavirus data centricity will only become more critical as those businesses that own the relationship with their customers will be able to take advantage of these first-party relationships when the economy improves. The decisions they made during this time, the messaging they delivered, and the data-driven business decisions will put them at a significant advantage.

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