It’s 9 AM. Do You Know Where Your Data Is?
How customer aware companies are learning more from the data they already have
Years ago in the New York market, there was a PSA that ran right before the evening news: “It’s 10 p.m., do you know where your children are?”
There was a picture of an empty swing creaking in the night.
It still gives me chills! But it sure was effective.
So here’s a scary question for you: Do you know where your data is? Like, all of it? Right now?
I’m not just talking about the data for which you have ownership. I mean all of the data housed within your broader organization.
If the answer is yes, you’re in the minority. In our work with customers, we typically find data silos across functional departments like IT, marketing, and sales. There may be data scientists tasked with oversight of some of that data but, in general, management can be disjointed.
So why is this?
Often, it can be boiled down to a tactical mindset. Data is seen as a tool for accomplishing a particular task. Say, billing or email marketing.
There is rarely someone looking at the customer as a whole and thinking about the totality of data as an asset to the organization. But this is the first step to becoming customer aware and extracting full value from data based on a complete understanding of the customer.
Setting a master data strategy
In our last post, we talked about the importance of data strategies being set at the very top of the organization. That’s because, without a centralized approach, data merely lives as disparate bits of info, forever undervalued.
Digital native companies tend to be very good at keeping accurate records. Traditional companies that have never thought of themselves as data-driven businesses tend to be highly challenged in this area.
Here’s an example: airlines tend to prioritize engagement with frequent flyers. This worked until the pandemic hit and all those biz customers stopped flying. Suddenly, it was the non-frequent flyers who were more likely to be flying. Of course, the records of all customers throughout time had grown quite dated because the airlines didn’t know how to constantly extract value from them.
The first order of business in setting a master strategy is to understand everywhere in the organization data exists and determine whether those records are complete. In other words, is everything we know about each customer in one place or is it dispersed across the org?
Once all complete records have been identified, a hygiene process is conducted. We know that data churns at a rate of 2.5-3.5% per month, compounded. If companies aren’t keeping meticulous tabs on customer data, chances are it is woefully out of date.
So, we clean. But once that data is cleaned up, the real fun begins. Some have likened it to magic because it’s the part of the process that reveals your next customers. No, they don’t just appear out of thin air. It’s more like pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
We overlay everything we know about your customers on top of the more limited insight you may have. This could include dozens and dozens of attributes like behavioral habits, brand preferences, hobbies..the list goes on.
What we’re looking for are those obvious and sometimes not-so-obvious connections between your customers and those in our audience of 250 million. We are essentially creating a new database of lookalike customers while bolstering your own datasets with substantially more information than you’d ever collect on your own during the normal course of business.
Once you can start connecting the dots between your own timely, accurate and complete database and the lookalike customers among the tens and tens of millions of prospects in the world, you are on your way to becoming a customer-aware organization.
In our next post, we’ll dive into another critical aspect of being customer aware: understanding which customers are profitable, which aren’t and how to capitalize on this information to drive growth and revenue.
Are you as customer aware as you’d like to be? Find out here.