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AnteriadJanuary 20, 20236 min read

A marketer’s guide to data strategy

A data strategy encompasses the full process of how you collect, manage and use your data. Having a strategy in place means you know how you’ll handle your data from the start—instead of making important data decisions on the fly. 

When you start building a data strategy, it’s important to think about four main components: data use, data collection, data organization and data updates. Easy enough, right? Well, those are pretty broad topics—with many considerations falling into each. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you boil it down.  Keep reading for what you need to focus on when creating your data strategy. 

How you plan to use data

What use cases are you trying to execute with data? Answering this question first will help the entire process run more smoothly. This will set the stage for the types of information you collect and the tools you use throughout your data management process.

Are you looking for data to drive your lead generation campaigns or help you run accounts-based marketing (ABM)? Do you already know who your target buyers are or do you need to discover new prospects? Thinking about exactly how you will use data to optimize your marketing efforts will be the foundation of your entire data strategy. 

As marketers, there is no lack of tools to help us do our jobs. But at some point, it all becomes too much and the complexity of all the systems (and their integrations) becomes too cumbersome to be useful and become a liability instead of a value add. 

One of the findings in our recent state of data and technology report is that there is a correlation between a comprehensive marketing data strategy and the level of perceived complexity in the marketing stack. When a comprehensive strategy is in place, marketers were more than 70% more likely to describe their software solutions as “just right, we have what we need to deliver on marketing objectives.” 

So, the takeaway here is that investing in a bunch of tools isn’t going to magically make using data more effective—but by first knowing how you want to use data you can create a well-thought-out plan and decide which tools make sense for your goals. 

How you collect data

Where will you source your data? Your website, social channels, intent data providers, chatbots, third parties, field events; the list of where marketing data can come from goes on and on. But is it the right data? Is it too much data? Or too little data?

If you’re looking to grow brand awareness, then SEO data or social listening data are two good avenues. If the goal is to increase customer lifetime value, survey data and technographic and firmographic data may be the way to go. Data is only useful if it is applied to the correct purpose.

So based on your goals, you can determine exactly what type of data you need. Once you know what type of data you need, it’s easier to choose the right avenue to get it. And there isn’t one correct answer—data can come from a variety of sources, and you may need to collect from multiple sources or work with a data provider to ensure you have everything you need.

It’s also important to make sure you’re adhering to privacy and compliance standards. The legal requirements for privacy and compliance are diverse from General Data Protection Regulation(GDPR) to individual state legislation and the definition of personally identifiable information(PII) can vary across borders. It’s critical that you make sure your organization is taking the necessary steps to ensure your data is compliant with your area’s privacy laws. One of the best ways to do this is to work with a trusted data provider. Look for a provider with third-party certification, like Neutronian certification, that verifies the quality and compliance of their data.

How you organize and store data

As mentioned above, there is no shortage of data sources. We know more today about our prospects and customers than ever before, but that data is only as good as your ability to organize it and use it. While having large stores of data is an advantage, if not stored, analyzed, and organized correctly, it can be just noise.

In the same B2B marketing survey previously mentioned, we found that 89% of marketers with a comprehensive marketing data strategy either created a customer data platform (CDP) or bought one. A CDP is a platform that centralizes customer data from multiple sources and makes it available to systems of insight and engagement. It can pull from all of your data sources to create one repository for marketing teams to use. However, it’s different from a typical database because it also offers functionality that can provide insights into your data. A CDP can build and segment audiences, provide reports, and even suggest the next best action for a prospect. 

It’s also important to consider the security measures you will be using to keep your data secure. Make sure you are protecting the data you use with access controls. Not everyone in your organization needs access to the information—keeping it secure can help retain the integrity of your data and protect you from legal issues.

How you update data

No matter what kind of data you are collecting and using, the information is dynamic: people change jobs, market trends evolve, and new technologies emerge. Every time there is a change, it means your data isn’t as valuable as it once was. That’s where data hygiene comes into play. 

Data hygiene is the sum of all the practices and processes to keep your data clean and error-free. “Unhygienic” data refers to any record that is not secure, incomplete, incorrect, improperly formatted, outdated or duplicated. Errors can be introduced in your data at any stage of the process of being collected, stored, managed or transferred from one system to another. 

As part of your data strategy, you should determine a process for updating your data. Think about how often you plan to update your data. Monthly? On a quarterly basis? Whatever timeline you decide on it’s important to continue to update your data—inaccurate data won’t produce results. We update our data each month so that you always have accurate data.

How will you verify your data is correct? This is where ongoing data audits come in. It’s important to keep checking the data you’re using since, as we’ve mentioned, some types of data can change often. It’s best practice to audit your data quarterly. See what data is old, unnecessary and out of license. Once you’ve identified this data you can clean it up and remove everything that is incorrect or you don’t need anymore. 

Get started today

Without data, most of us marketers couldn’t do our jobs. Without thoughtful, considerate planning of how data is collected, organized, orchestrated, and used, most of us wouldn’t be able to do our jobs successfully. That’s the purpose of a well-thought-out marketing data strategy that, at minimum, starts with the four components above. Anteriad can help you put them in place and begin building your comprehensive data strategy. Learn more about our data-driven solutions.