“Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media. Today’s column is written by Bridget Bidlack, vice president of global product management at Experian Marketing Services.
First-party data is one of an organization’s most important marketing assets yet many struggle to activate it effectively.
Standing in the way are two fundamental factors: the siloed way in which the data exists within organizations and how that data is governed.
Since different silos collect and use the data differently, organizations essentially have a fractured governance approach that can create issues for customers. Ultimately, organizations must have a clear governance strategy that dictates how data is stored, permissions for accessing the data and, perhaps most important, consumer preferences.
In order to apply true governance standards to first-party data, organizations must address the fact that it is stored in a wide variety of formats that are often not connected or accessible among groups. The sources include CRM, customer service calls, websites, ecommerce sites, marketing campaigns, events and loyalty programs, among others.
Combined, these data sets create the most accurate picture of the customer and their preferences. When separate, departments often miss information that could be crucial to their efforts. So the goal for many organizations is to have a fully integrated central data repository that would provide the correct permissions depending on the team that needs the information.
Getting to this integration usually requires a strong advocate, preferably in the C-suite, to encourage siloed functions to work together. The teams first need to get talking so they can better understand what data is actually available in other departments. The most effective way is to give team members a chance to physically work together, perhaps doing rotations where people sit in different departments, which will allow for more interaction and hopefully a better understanding of all the data that is available, as well as what is important to the customer in each context.
Once there is some move toward integration, or if an organization is able to develop a centralized data repository, a governance strategy for the data should be implemented. There are several key components.
The right resources and budget should be assigned to developing the best governance infrastructure possible.
In each silo, someone should be assigned responsibility of first-party data. Early involvement with the IT teams is crucial since an organization’s technology team must understand the ultimate usage of the data and how it should be organized.
Agree to naming conventions to apply across all first-party data collection, regardless of the source to ensure that data is accurately tracked.
Ensure that service-level agreements for data inputs and outputs account for any extra processing or steps required to enforce the governance policy and that it is done so at scale.
Permissions And Consumer Preferences
Develop well-considered permissioning that allows departments to get the information they need without violating confidentiality.
Ensure that customer activity is incorporated into the data. Have a strategy in place to address top customers so they receive a premier experience in line with their expectations.
Organizations must honor customer preferences across departments and marketing teams, such as whether they wish to receive promotions. Include a multibrand strategy if needed; organizations with multiple brands must develop an approach that properly shares information across those brands.
Properly governed first-party data has tremendous potential to generate revenue. Ideally, customers would experience seamless navigation across platforms and their interactions would be serviced properly by teams who have instant and accurate access to needed information.
With a well-governed system, users will be able to access data without violating any of the customer’s preferences.
Since first-party data is often the most sensitive information an organization has, an ideal scenario would be one in which that data is centralized and can be regulated, protected and used to maximum effect.