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Three Critical Steps for Data-Driven Success

  • Kerry Pearce 

In today’s landscape, businesses need to look for any competitive advantage they can to ensure their survival, growth and success. A key aspect of gaining a competitive advantage is using data-driven insights to empower decisions for marketing, consumer insights, consumer segmentation, and operations, such as merchandising and real estate. 

Especially within large companies, it is often common that your siloed marketing, customer insights, and operation intelligence groups (real estate, merchandising, etc.) all have different capabilities, different data sources, and vastly different goals. This leads to varied usage of data, insights drawn from competing or incompatible datasets, and potentially faulty decisions based on flawed inputs.

Here is the fastest path to avoid this pitfall.

First: Work Internally 

Many companies immediately jump right to selecting a vendor without doing a thorough analysis of what resources are available internally. The idea of “big data” sounds appealing for many teams until “big data” lands on the company doorstep and chaos ensues. 

For example, let’s say a quick-service restaurant (like a fast-food chain) wants to open up a new location. If this strategic task of finding the perfect new location is given to each team individually, different departments will likely end up with different results. The real estate team may recommend one area, while the consumer insights team has a different recommendation based on a best-customer profile– meanwhile, marketing is running on its own path. This lack of coordination hurts investment and ROI.

Making sure these siloed departments are unified and working together is the first order of business. While many companies have moved toward hiring a Chief Data Officer (CDO) to help create a data unification program and enact a data-first culture, really, any Data & Analytics (D&A) leader can help spark this evolution with a deep dive into the current data landscape in the company. 

In a 2021 press release, Gartner® puts it succinctly: “If the CDO does not exert influence across the organization by promoting data sharing, engaging stakeholders and training the workforce to become data literate, they will likely not perform well in their role.” 

Second: Invest in vendors offering a single platform solution  

Find a vendor partner who can provide a holistic solution, across customer intelligence, marketing intelligence, and operational intelligence. “By 2024, the lack of unified marketing technology to identify, locate and target buyers will introduce a new data intelligence platform to enable marketing effectiveness,” said Mark Smith, CEO and Chief Research Officer at Ventana Research. “By 2025, over one-half of organizations will determine that the chaos of digital technology usage requires a rationalization of vendors to ensure operational excellence.” 

Businesses must be on that very leading edge of rationalization of vendors and must partner with a company that solves problems across multiple critical and hopefully no longer-siloed teams in the organization (see step 1). Find one company that can stitch together multiple digital and offline identities into one unified profile and enrich those identities with multiple datasets and model addressable segments. This same solution should be able to act against these insights and measure the effectiveness these very insights have on your business.

There are a host of benefits when you unify human movement data as the connective tissue between first-party data, demographics, location visits, and household segmentation for your entire organization. This utilization opens up new ways to positively impact your business. Additionally, it’s important that you adopt the use of smart data science modeling to do predictive analytics for potential customers, develop trade area models for site selection, and model how they’re going to perform. This will result in the creation of innovative marketing campaigns that will help drive business away from your competition and directly to your locations and websites. 

Three: Use the single source to build all customer profiles

Using data to drive your business decisions is a major advantage you can take between you and your competitors; what’s of equal importance is creating customer profiles of your current, potential– and competitor’s customers– which ultimately leads to making the right, strategic business decisions. This impacts the organization for the better in terms of accuracy, efficiency, and ROI. 

Unified and robust customer profiles enable:

  • Creation of the right marketing campaigns for connected TV, digital, desktop, and social ads
  • Accurate merchandising decisions
  • The real estate team to unlock the best locations for bricks-and-mortar expansion.

Creating the above from a unified data source doesn’t stop with taking the action. Using the same source to measure the results and assess the impact of the actions is paramount. Businesses need to forget trying to stitch together multiple different solutions and vendors and choose a one-stop-shop solution for the full picture.

Human movement data, gathered with full consent from consumers, should be a critical piece of these consumer profiles. Data from mobile devices can serve as the connective tissue across the D&A stack, allowing companies to stitch together data from multiple sources, enrich their first-party data, create actionable insights and measure the results. Find the vendor which can unlock this incredible power.

Embrace the Digital Transformation

By assessing your current capabilities, unifying siloed data via a unified platform, and using data-driven insights, any CDO or D&A leader can take a huge leap forward on their digital transformation journey.  


Source- Gartner Press Release, “Gartner Survey Finds 72% of Data & Analytics Leaders Are Leading or Heavily Involved in Digital Transformation Initiatives”, May 5, 2021. [Link- https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2021-05-05-gartner-finds-72-percent-of-data-and-analytics-leaders-are-leading-or-heavily-involved-in-digital-transformation-initiatives]

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