I love a good beerfest. But, then, who doesn’t? Few would reject the notion of a sunny day spent wandering a maze of tables laden with hoppy goodness. It’s the adventure of discovery plus friends, smiling strangers, and entertainment. Part of the charm is not knowing what you’ll find or where.
Of course, you wouldn’t want that kind of atmosphere when planning a marketing campaign, which thrives on forward momentum and a sense of full speed ahead. Happy beerfest words such as “maze” and “adventure” feel threatening when applied to campaign management.
Yet that’s what too many marketers experience. In their organizations, data is scattered across departments and teams. Controlled by different company blocs, these data silos are often cut off from one another and difficult to access. Hunting for information, a campaign manager may not know where to look, let alone recognize the quality of data once found. It’s an uphill slog as momentum sputters out, dampening the spirit of the campaign manager, who had looked forward to Monday morning, ready to conquer the world after a great weekend at the beerfest.
What’s needed is good data, organized and right at hand. With that a marketer can gain deep insight into audiences, the foundation of an effective, successful campaign. In a company saddled with disjointed and disorganized data, though, what’s a campaign manager to do?
That marketer needs one of the brewmaster’s tools: time. The magic of great beer happens as yeast ferments, the waiting period turning sugar to alcohol. For a marketer, the alchemy happens through data. Data influences every part of a campaign, from who you target to the message you send. If you take the time to unify the ways your company handles data, the result will streamline everything that follows, benefiting all future campaigns. And unlike the brewmaster who must spend time on every batch brewed, the campaign manager need only invest once.
To get started, identify sections within your company that have a natural stake in gathering data. They’ll likely be collecting and using different pieces of information according to need. For instance, in some companies, the marketing department handles traditional email campaigns using one set of data, while from another data set, IT sends real-time transactional messages such as welcome emails in response to newsletter sign-ups. Today’s organizations must be data-driven to succeed. Social data, loyalty data, Web analytics, customer preferences—chances are your company already has all the right information if only someone—you—would come along to align all the different data practices.
You’ll need a plan to do that. After identifying who has the data, dig further: Find the different data solutions being used, where there’s an overlap of information, how data currently is or isn’t distributed. In short, to be a change-maker, you’ll have to thoroughly assess the situation. Armed with a complete understanding of your company’s particular situation, you’re ready to create a plan that blends data and organizes its availability.
You’ll have to make a case for the plan to garner support for change. Lay out the current flawed situation, be frank about the resources needed to usher in the new era, and emphasize the gains that the company and each stakeholder will realize once data begins to flow smoothly throughout the organization, on tap for everyone who needs it.
Creating change will take time—think two to three months. Yet the wise campaign manager knows that, once in place, the new approach to organizing data can ignite progressive action the way yeast puts the zing in brews at the weekend beerfest.