The Importance of the Right Data and Right Process

By: Brett Mowry, Executive Director, Data Solutions, Data & Analytics, Valassis
Published Monday, Feb 19, 2018

The Importance of the Right Data and Right Process

Marketers were recently given a C-minus in Marketing Intelligence in a study commissioned by Forrester.

So, what’s going on? In all the talk of big data, machine learning and even Artificial Intelligence, what is often missing is having the right data and the right process.  Without the right data, an analysis can be much harder and less effective.  Without the right process, even the best analysis ends up collecting dust.  

Throughout my career, I’ve run across many examples of not having the right data and right process. This results in feelings of disappointment and disenfranchisement with data and analytics efforts. Focusing on just these two areas, can drive powerful results.  To understand this more fully, consider the below examples:

Right Data, Wrong Process: Many large corporations have immense amount of data in-house that represent both the online and offline world.  However, as these companies look to analyze across these spaces, they do not have processes in place to align on KPIs and bring data together into a cohesive story that informs key decisions. While progress is being made with new data management systems, the process of the decision making if often not considered. 

Wrong Data, Right Process: This issue can be created when we use data for reasons it wasn’t intended.  We can see this daily in the real world when news or other shows quote surveys.  A survey taken for only a certain geography or demographic may be misused to represent a larger or different geography or demographic. Another way this can occur is when needed data isn’t available.  This often happens in the digital space when someone responds to an advertisement or offer through a brick and mortar channel that wasn’t tracked.  While we can’t always solve for these issues, being aware of them and using the data in the best way is key.

Right Data, Right Process: But there is hope – when the right data and processes are brought together, great things can happen.  I’ve had the good fortune to see this come together many times to transform organizations and businesses.  A great example of this is seen when companies build analytics teams and technology that integrate so seamlessly into the business that is it hard to distinguish between the analyst and the “business” associate. 

While there is, obviously, no single magic bullet to solve for the issues we have today in data and analytics, simplifying the problem down to determining gaps you have in data and process can be key to identifying and prioritizing how to continually improve.

In the end, a combination of focus and good, old fashioned determination can take you and your company a long way.