FRESH PERSPECTIVE

Aspiration vs. perspiration

“What I did during my summer vacation” was my favorite assignment each school year. As we make the turn for the last remaining days of summer, I recently took stock in what I have done to prepare for my annual essay (which has now become a blog).  This summer I have had the opportunity to

07/27/2017

How to turn data assets into data insights

“What I did during my summer vacation” was my favorite assignment each school year. As we make the turn for the last remaining days of summer, I recently took stock in what I have done to prepare for my annual essay (which has now become a blog).  This summer I have had the opportunity to participate in many discussions with prospective clients and have conversations with quite a few attendees at several conferences I attended.

Common themes appeared in these conversations:

  1. Personalized communications with customers
  2. Usage of data visualization tools to surface insights from advanced analytics
  3. Modern data platforms that support unstructured data types such as video

Each of these areas of marketing are exciting in their own right and ground breaking when used in concert with one another. 

CHALLENGES

Almost every conversation began the same way — listening to bold statements about leading edge marketing projects.  As my enthusiasm built and I was ready to launch into a barrage of questions so I could gather all the best practices, things quickly turned to feelings of disappointment as I learned that so few had actually moved beyond stating aspirational goals for their leading edge marketing projects and turned these into action.   I wanted to ask questions about how the person built the business case to secure funding these leading edge projects, how key performance indicators of success were defined and measured, which of the various MarTech providers were being utilized, and what lessons they had learned.  Instead, I found myself doing most of the talking and describing how Allant Group had been engaged to help our clients answer these same questions and sharing OUR best practices.

The number one challenge these marketing executives were facing was all too familiar. The futurists at the conferences assumed the companies had overcome the foundational challenge with the quality, quantity, and/or availability of data.  Without solving for the data equation, marketing groups are usually stopped in their tracks.  Hadoop-based “
big data” platforms were supposed to be the Holy Grail of marketing by commoditizing data and unleashing the power of advanced analytics techniques such as artificial intelligence.  The problem with this theory is that data cannot be treated as a commodity, and at the same time, be treated as a valuable asset.  The only people I spoke with who have embarked on these leading edge projects work for companies that value data and invest to treat it as such.

OLD SCHOOL vs NEW SCHOOL

Not so long ago marketers knew all of the questions they needed to answer.  They would work with IT teams that had built relational databases optimized through ETL tools to bring the right mix of company-generated and third party data together to deliver answers.  Today, marketers are developing new questions on a daily basis and seeking insights to adjust campaigns to engage customers in near real-time.  To support the new normal, data platforms must be flexible to support structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data types, offer scale for the vast amounts of data generated by modern online marketing,

SOLUTIONS START with DATA

Allant Group’s solutions begin with data.

  • Allant Group has invested in the development of a process to regularly analyze compiled data sources and specialty data sources we aggregate to measure the quality of demographic and firmographic data elements to offer our clients the highest quality data at a competitive price point.
  • Allant Group has selected a Hadoop-based insights platform to be our standard data delivery vehicle for our clients.  The new platform allows us to onboard our client’s data and have a production environment available in several weeks instead of the several quarters which is still the industry norm with proprietary data platforms.
  • Allant Group continues to invest in its identity resolution technology, IRIS, to stitch together disparate data elements using algorithms to match transactions and activities with unique households or individuals.
  • Allant Group takes advantage of advanced analytics tools such as machine learning, R, and Python to develop predictive models to help marketers activate customers with confidence.

Before achieving your aspirational goals, you need to generate the perspiration to build a strong data foundation. The point of this “essay” is to let you know Allant Group can partner with you and do the perspiring with you and for you. With this key building block in place, marketers can embark on projects that are more complex and deliver sustainable competitive advantage.

I hope you are interested to learn more about what I did this summer and how Allant Group can work with you to:

  1. Conduct a data quality audit
  2. Analyze the health of your overall data platform in meeting your future marketing function
  3. Acquire the third-party data to enhance your existing data

Please contact me directly at bbutler@allantgroup.com so we can start a conversation on how we can help with your challenges.  I also welcome you to grade this summer’s essay.

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