As we move into the next decade, data is set to become the cornerstone of MarTech. Marketers today have access to a more detailed, wider pool of data than ever before. However, this raises a number of key questions. How should businesses evolve sound data strategies that deliver tangible results? How can developments in data capture and storage be brought in consonance with evolving legal and compliance standards?
When collecting data from users, it’s important to keep in mind the evolving nature of the legal and compliance landscape.
Let’s take a look now at the number of key pieces in the puzzle, from data collection to storage, compliance, and strategy. All firms, regardless of the industry they’re in, will have to deal with data this decade. Let’s find out how and address the challenges along the way.
Straight From the User: Collecting First-Party User Data
Marketers have a wide range of sources today to obtain data from today. Perhaps the most important source is first-party data from the user base itself. Interaction with users over digital platforms can yield a remarkable amount of usable data at minimum cost. For instance, user registration on your support system could give you user’s contact information, product preferences, and more.
When collecting data from users, it’s important to keep in mind the evolving nature of the legal and compliance landscape. Lawmakers around the world are increasingly cognizant of the impact of data collection on individual privacy. To succeed over the long haul, your approach to first-party user data collection needs to be centered on consent, respect for privacy, and compliance.
A lot of them also have collected data (either purposely or inadvertently). They are struggling today because a lot of it is not organized and marketers aren’t aware of how to bring all this data at one place and use it effectively.
Read more: A Sensible Approach to MarTech Choices
Third-Party Data Exchanges
Third-party data exchanges represent another key source of data. They are especially useful for firms that are less customer-facing or have less of an online presence. Data brokerages can provide marketers with detailed insights about an immense number of leads, all of which can be leveraged in targeted marketing campaigns. There are clear drawbacks to this approach, however.
For starters, in the post-Cambridge Analytica era, the reliability of data brokers is more in question than ever: is your data broker collecting data lawfully and non-invasively? Moreover, the cost of access can, in certain cases, exceed the cost of building your own data infrastructure, granted you have the requisite know-how.
Where Do You Store Your Data? How Efficiently Can You Use It?
Once you have data sources in place, the next challenge is identifying how to store data and have the ability to use it on the go in the most efficient format… Going forward, data management platforms will become increasingly important and complex. Building your own data management infrastructure can be expensive and time-consuming. However, it has advantages in terms of privacy and security. Third-party vendors offer a range of data management services, too. We see Cloud-based data management becoming more important in the years to come. Vast amounts of Cloud-based data will be available on demand, but questions of ownership, privacy, and security will inevitably rear their heads.
Data Privacy and Compliance in an Evolving Legal Environment
The vast amount of user data being collected, disseminated, and analyzed by firms, governments, and other actors has unsurprisingly, raised questions about security and privacy. Lawmakers around the world are increasingly conscious of the consequences of a data-centric world on their constituents. What does this mean for markers? Across a number of geographies, laws such as the GDPR establish stringent compliance standards for data privacy, security, and transparency.
Businesses need to be conscious of how they’re collecting user data and what they’re doing with it. As an initial step, compliance audits can be used to identify how compliant existing processes are. However, in the long run, data strategies must be built around compliance with evolving legal norms. This might constrain businesses from engaging in certain practices. However, advances in AI and Predictive Analytics make it possible to gain actionable insights into user behaviors without being overly invasive.
Developing Seamless, End-To-End Data Strategies
Today, firms have the means to collect and analyze data on a large scale. However, having the means to a sound data strategy doesn’t mean that every firm evolves one. Various processes, from data collection to analysis to dashboarding are often implemented in a disorganized, ad-hoc way. As data becomes more important than ever for marketers, it is increasingly important for firms to evolve integrated, end-to-end data strategies.
A key question to ask first is this: what do you plan on doing with data? Any sound data strategy needs to have concrete, time-bound objectives in mind. It isn’t enough that ad-hoc data solutions-like a one-off analytics dashboard-augment other functions. You need to have a strategy in place specific to data. This strategy should account for data collection and analysis at every stage of the consumer journey, from geo-targeted ads to data-informed aftersales solutions.
Minimizing data siloization is also critical. Many of the data collection and analysis systems that your organization uses, especially legacy systems, were not built with today’s data-centric world in mind. Your Sales data, for instance, might be isolated from data on support, which in turn might be isolated from research and experimental data. As you evolve a sound data strategy, it is important to try and minimize siloization. Ensure that different systems can talk to each other so that every data-driven decision you make accounts for as many variables as possible.
Conclusion: Strategize Effectively for a Data-Driven Future
Every company today needs to care about data. While the tools to collect and analyze it are cheap and widely available, strategy remains the key stumbling block. In the decade to come, data needs to become a critical, not peripheral, part of your overall business strategy. To succeed in this environment, you need to understand what data you’re collecting, why you’re collecting it, and what you plan to do with it.