Three Guiding Factors When Changing Your Data Strategy

Shannon Fitzgerald-Lussier
August 28, 2019

Change is inevitable. This undeniable truth is something a forward-thinking marketing leader needs to keep in the back of their mind always. There are going to be changes in their market, with their technology, people shifting roles, and a multitude of other developments ranging from disruptive to minute. But a change that has been coming up more frequently than not, are transformations in digital insights for marketing teams. So what are the best practices to handle a change in your data strategy? 

You could have a solid process with all the highest recommended technology and tools but at the end of the day, if your team doesn’t bode well with your changes, you’re not going to get great data that will help drive impact for your organization. Too often, we forget the experience of the actual marketers who will be using the new technology and implementing new processes. This is true for companies with 2000 global marketers as well as a smaller team of 20. It is imperative that marketing leaders approach a big change like data restructuring, with their team in mind. 

1. Acknowledge That Its a Big Change

Doing an overhaul of your data isn’t just revamping your technology–it’s implementing a new process, a new methodology of ROI, and more all at once. You need to be candid with your team and be honest about this kind of change.

The path of least resistance tends to be what most people gravitate towards, so be upfront about how this will cause some discomfort at first. To that end, when explaining how big of a change this will be, this is where you as a forward-thinking marketing leader will bring up the benefits of taking this new approach. But do not neglect the downsides and roadblocks that could arise. Obviously implementing a new way to record data and even reexamining what data should matter will uproot a lot of marketing team’s productivity, but the ends will justify the means. Be honest about how this will impact your marketers, and you’ll have taken the first step towards handling a large change well.

     2. Approach It From the Marketer’s Point of View

Building off the previous point, an open dialogue will go a long way. A marketing leader should put themselves in the shoes of their team and consider how this will affect their team’s day to day. Transparency is one of the best policies you can have. Be open about your thoughts and relate the benefits of the change back to your team’s functions. 

Your team isn’t going to pick up any new naming conventions or data models right off the bat. Marketing leaders should hold enablement sessions frequently—allow your team to feel safe asking any questions so they can fully understand every step of your transformation. You can even offer best practices other companies have found to give your team a sense of how these changes will translate. 

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t just throw a change like this at your team and simply expect them to figure it out. You need their honest feedback for your data to really work. If a restructuring of your marketing data is relayed as marching orders, you won’t receive honest information that will help you empower future business decisions.

    3. Balance the Desire for Lots of Metrics with the Ability to Actually Collect Data

Everyone wants to know how the activities they spent days or even weeks on performed. But marketing leaders need to really hone in on the metrics that matter. Will having an active pulse on your social media metrics help empower future decisions? Or will the number of clicks for an email campaign drive more revenue for your company? The answers to those questions aren’t so black and white because they depend on your organization. 

Marketers need to think about what they’re going to do with the data first before they begin to measure them. Ideally, those metrics should align with corporate strategies so that your team’s efforts are being tracked against the goals of the company. Say you had a form that you wanted someone to fill out. Would you put 10 questions on the form or 100? If you think of this from a macro level, a form with 100 questions would be answered half-heartedly and really give you the same amount a form with 10 questions would. At least with a shorter form, you can be sure that the info inputted was done with diligence and care. 

Ultimately as a forward-thinking marketer, you can’t sacrifice the quality of data for quantity. You need to begin your process with a data methodology to single out what exactly everyone should be tracking against. To be clear, this is an iterative process. There is no silver bullet to collecting good data. But employing the above practices will help your team successfully navigate a change in a data strategy change. 

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