Data analysts and marketers historically have not needed to work closely together... today, that has changed. Data analysts have become some of the most valuable people in your marketing team as they can help brands understand consumer motives faster, build intuitive interfaces and trigger customer actions, all by using data effectively.
In our last Digital Swarm event we discussed the need for marketers and agencies to build relationships with the data analysts in our business. Most marketing teams don’t yet have full-time analysts employed, so they are reliant on their business analysts to fill the gap in their team. Initially we see marketers focusing on mission critical exercises to build marketing competencies that drive innovation and consumer centricity. A few of these mission critical aspects are discussed here, but are summarised as:
Collecting consumer information
Consumer information is vast and comes in various forms. Market research companies present deep insight into consumers through reports, catalogues and online systems. This information is a combination of data driven insight and qualitative assessment. While it may be difficult to drive this into our data infrastructure, marketers will benefit from being able to make this information available to their wider stakeholder network.
Aggregating siloed data
Every marketer is measuring every aspect of the marketing plan, but very rarely are they able to break these reporting techniques out of their respective silos and see the data together. New start-up technologies are starting to answer these questions and we are seeing some products become available that help marketers see all marketing data from social media to TV and radio campaigns, in the same place.
This is the most important part to building the speed of innovation in your marketing – making the data available. Whether you choose to do this through closed systems you can manage and invite stakeholders to, or like IBM you decide to make information available to support an open source community, you need to prioritise making your data easily accessible to partners and stakeholders.
The benefit of the mission critical aspects above are great for marketers but can be quite a process to uncover on the data analyst side. To succeed in building these marketing resources we need to find ways to build the relationship between data analysts and marketers.
Invite to mission critical meetings
Start by inviting data analysts to your mission critical meetings to expose them to your marketing challenges and the outputs of your current research and monitoring processes. Allow them to spend time understanding your world and what’s expected. There is very often a disconnect between analysts and marketers where one understands the data but not the goal, and the other the goal and not the data. Use these meetings to expose people to the goals and the big picture thinking.
Start a weekly coffee date
Schedule 30 minutes a week into your diary and spend it with a data analyst. Use this time to dig deeper into the relationship, asking and answering deeper questions that have surfaced from the previous meeting. Keep the meetings short, so they remain purposeful and keep them frequent enough to keep a continuous train of thought.
Invite data analysts to the innovation and creative sessions
Once your analysists understand the playing field of marketing, you will find they are ready to add value to the big picture. Start inviting them to the creative and innovation sessions, but give them time to prepare and allow them the chance to present some ideas in these sessions. Understanding data takes time and the opportunities only surface after a while. Make sure you allow enough time in your planning to allow the analysts to add their value.
Mike Saunders is the CEO of DigitLab, an international speaker, and has had the privilege of working with some of the worlds most prestigious organisations including Vodafone, IBM, Microsoft, KPMG, Norton Rose, Mr Price, Toyota and Exxaro. Along with his experience in business, Mike has also contributed to leadership programmes for Gordon's Institute of Business (GIBS).
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