Data has a way of pushing organizations to rush. There’s an urgency to catch up to data-driven competitors, and pressure to build a full-fledged data department immediately. That can cause corporations to jump straight into data initiatives or make big data decisions without a clear strategy.
This can be a big mistake, diffusing efforts or leading to a start-and-stop data program that lacks focus and direction.
As TSMC Founder Morris Chang famously said: “Without strategy, execution is aimless. Without execution, strategy is useless.”
Jumping into action, especially in a field as complex, convoluted, and constantly changing as data, without spending the appropriate time on strategy can create structural problems in your data approach that you will have to fix later on.
Here are three tips to consider as you establish a clear and focused data strategy that will align your organization around effective and powerful data execution.
- Create a Foundation for the Future with Data Management
Re-plumbing a poorly built data management system can be a nightmare. Many companies’ data departments are weighed down by the difficult job of untangling a data architecture that requires new integrations, improved reporting tools, and more responsive activation.
Avoid these hurdles by starting with a data system that is fully integrated and offers seamless data activation. This will be foundational to your success as your data efforts scale with your business growth and the demands of an increasingly digital and mobile consumer. Make sure that your data strategy starts with making sure your data efforts are build on the solid foundation of scalable and modern data management software.
- Push for Predictive Capabilities
Strategy should always look ahead. You want to meet your consumers where they will be, not where they were. Don’t spend months creating a data department focused on data methods that are quickly becoming outdated. Data is moving toward predictive actions, so make sure your strategy charts a course toward that future. Let your strategy lead you away from creating an entire department formatted to a reactive marketing and sales approach when data is moving toward a predictive future.
If your data department can interpret data, not just ingest it, you will be set up to make the next steps in sales and marketing personalization. And ensuring that predictive analytics are a piece of the data puzzle will power a predictive and personal marketing approach.
- Make Data Work for All Departments
Data is often thought of as the sole territory of sales and marketing departments. But data should work for every part of your organization. Engage all C-suite executives when creating your marketing strategy to assure that you are leveraging data to optimize functions of all teams.
Data can help you sharpen internal processes like regulatory compliance and customer service responses, as well as guide marketing campaigns.
Think of it in terms of both “offensive” and “defensive” data. Offensive data helps you generate leads, close sales and gain market share. Defensive data allows you to ensure regulatory compliance and pinpoint problems like fraud or theft.
Don’t limit your use of data to the obvious applications. Data is a tool that can transform your organization from top to bottom when strategy leads the way.