Normal is a word that many yearn for in times of uncertainty. While no one knows when we will return to “normal” and what that even entails, the best we can do is learn to embrace change and figure out how to drive business growth.
This was on my mind when I kicked off our AdWeek webinar, Data Strategies for the New Normal: What Does It Take to Thrive?, with my good friend Laura McElhinney, Chief Data Officer for Horizon Media. She hit the nail on the head when she said, “Even babies don’t like change.” We’re hard-wired to stick with what we know. Yet what’s also true is innovation occurs outside our comfort zones. So while we’re all feeling the strain of the continuing coronavirus pandemic, racial injustice, and the recession, what can help us move forward is being practical about how we innovate. A good place to start is with your data strategy.
Perform a data audit
When was the last time you audited the data or technology you use? It’s more important now than ever: “Technology is expensive, and data is even more so—you want to be prudent,” Laura shared. “Performing an audit can uncover internal data that you may not have known you had access to because it sits with another team, or that you have two or more tools that do the same thing. Strengthen the quality of the assets you have.”
Chances are, you’ll find a tool or data you haven’t been using and can use those savings for other initiatives you haven’t yet secured budget for. With every dollar needing to go farther, this is a smart way to find budget and resources you can reallocate.
Build a new data foundation
An audit can not only uncover savings, it can reveal a new way to better organize your data and maximize its use across teams. “Every client has varying degrees of success and maturity in connecting their first-party data,” Laura said. “Clients should be able to own their own data, but it doesn’t mean you have to do this all yourself.”
This makes it important to work with a data connectivity partner that maximizes the value of your first-party data by ensuring it’s interoperable across the ecosystem and preserves consumer privacy. If you’re going to go through an audit with the purpose of discovering data to connect with your marketing programs, you’re responsible for ensuring that it’s put to good use. You won’t know until you try whether something as simple as accessing a new data set can lead to significant, positive changes for your brand.