What if Data Was Your Competitive Advantage?

How analytics can be your secret weapon

The digital marketing world has long been dominated by duopolies and walled gardens—often one and the same—which has led to a lack of innovation and stagnation in the market. In particular, the market-dominant analytics tools have been complicated and rooted in bad data and made it near-impossible to modify, transport or delete data. They have also lacked the ability to empower marketers to actually do something with that data. And really, what good is data if you can’t easily use it to your advantage.

The bad news? Without a full, portable view of customers across both the ever-changing open and “closed” internet, delivering consumers what they most crave—a relevant, respectful experience—is still challenging.

The good news is that marketers now have a choice in the matter.

The State of Analytics Today

Remember the heyday of “big data?” Well, that approach of collecting, storing and accumulating massive amounts of data is (thankfully) a thing of the past. Brands and publishers are now realizing that the overproduction and overexploitation of data not only slows down internal agility, it can also permanently damage users’ trust in their offering. The data world’s misguided focus on quantity has led us to information overload and, plainly, bad data locked into complex, non-user friendly platforms.

This isn’t to say all data is bad, since certainly every organization relies on it in some way to steer their business. However, it hasn’t been in systems agile enough to affect rapid change. For starters, being closer to the source of your data within a single, integrated platform instead of disparate tools and intermediaries not only increases the quality of the data, but also the speed and level of outcomes it achieves.

It’s also no longer financially viable for organizations to run siloed systems where data around ad revenue, subscriptions, content engagement and customer profiles is all stored separately. This not only prevents the free flow of data that is available to all of the business units that need it, but also makes it impossible to get a full picture of your customer.

Make choices to get ahead

Anybody can say they make data “actionable,” but without certain fundamentals in place, the path to achieving true competitive advantage, customer impact and ideal outcomes will be a steep and rocky one.

  1. Choose better data: Your provider must guarantee unparalleled data quality and ensure that its customers own 100% of their data from all their sites and platforms. It’s also important to ensure that you have a full view of the customer journey by avoiding analytics solutions that use sampled data. Simply put, while Google is “free”, you don’t get access to your full data set, and that will cost you in more ways than one.

    In a world where privacy compliance is a must, it is also necessary to check that you can comply with the strictest privacy regulations in the world. Not only does this keep your brand out of hot water, it also allows you to get the reach and accuracy needed to engage users.  

  2. Choose a better tool: Technology has become both a gift and a curse, with far too many solutions missing the mark on user experience and functionality fit. Analytics options have traditionally been both complex in their design and laggards in their outputs, with very few custom analyses that actually add real value for specific business requirements. Working with a solution that employs a single, unified data model lets marketing, product and in-house analytics teams extract the data points they need to create the experiences that matter most to their audiences.

    A data model that is designed to facilitate a high level of customization enables you to measure what you need, not what the provider thinks you may want. By choosing a platform with a fully open architecture, you can seamlessly onboard, augment and activate data, feeding it to destinations across the organization, in context and at speed. With all your data needs in one place, in real time, you have a single source of truth for all your data when you need it.  

  3. Choose a better relationship: There is an overwhelming need for a full-service approach in today’s complex and technical analytics ecosystem, something that isn’t always a technology provider’s number-one priority. But tools are only as good as what we put into them and how we use them. Without expert guidance, it becomes a real challenge to maximize the ROI and move as fast as possible in doing so.

    Beyond agility, working with solutions that also facilitate relationships within the customer base to form a wide community is critical. We learn from each other just as much as we learn from our tech partners or even our own successes and failures.

If you’re a professional who relies on data to drive decisions and support organizational growth, it's imperative you have a partner who operates with integrity, quality and customer-centricity as part of their core values in both their product and partnership. Data, tool and relationship quality matters more than ever—not just because you need your executive decision-making to be based on accuracy and trust, but also because when it comes to delivering value to customers, you don’t have time to waste.