Data transformation: 4 key takeaways

Helena Jones - Marketing Executive,

It can feel impossible to win out in a time when change is the only constant, managing the increasing demands of consumers whilst also adapting to their varying shifts in behaviour is a key challenge.

Is large scale digital transformation the only solution?

To try and find the answer, we brought together like-minded peers and data experts for an intimate roundtable - to discuss the role data can play in driving incremental change to transform businesses. 

In this blog, we share four important takeaways that were too valuable to miss:

Changing internal attitudes towards data is key

All companies are data companies, although some may not realise it yet. The sooner this is acknowledged, the sooner internal attitudes towards data can change for the better. One of the ways of assessing how far along a company are in their data transformation journey, is to look at how data is viewed internally - is it seen as admin or as an asset?

Far from being simply a means of reporting, analytics can help us understand what is and isn't working. It can help us solve marketing problems, business problems and customer problems. It's about joining the dots online and offline - if you can get to a point where you have an internal culture of understanding data and its uses, you will have a competitive advantage in today's market.

It can also be a real issue trying to shift marketing transformation from being just a buzzword to reality. How do you get the board to listen and invest in these types of things? 

Some companies have gotten themselves into a position where they are almost scared to commit to a strategy – coming up with excuses like we haven't got the right CRM or we haven't got the right CDP. But when broken down, and paired with a data strategy, several incremental changes can be implemented at pace. Then, when you allow that data to flow through a Data Studio visualization, you can show the board that some real progress has been achieved very quickly. When trying to change that internal mindset, get those small, quick wins and get the board on side with the data strategy – then you will be able to move things forward.

What is the role of the CMO in data & technology?

33% of CMOs have no involvement in decision making when it comes to data and technology, but as data becomes a more central part of a business, the role of a CMO is called into question.

Traditionally, a CMO’s role is focused around Brand Communications but, as data and technology become more integral parts of marketing strategy, there is a rise in the amount of CMO’s who come from a developer background. This experience is going to become more essential – especially for those who are interested in leading marketing transformation.

The importance of ROI

Demonstrating the ROI of data transformation is a unique challenge, does it have to be all at once, or can it be gradual?

There can be pressure to feel like you have to do everything in one go, but making some simple changes, to begin with, can make a big difference – such as aligning offline and online data and adding data layers to your analytics. The bigger challenge, arguably, is showing the value of data over time.

It’s also vital to make sure that the KPI’s you choose are achievable and realistic, don’t be afraid to define ROI in different ways. Look beyond revenue and look at value-added – did the project enable our teams to work better together? Did we minimize the time it took to go to market?

One participant in the roundtable explained how his business split teams into two, with each focusing on either “sustaining market” or “developing market” as they have a vision of how they think the market develops, which they cannot measure against the metrics used for the sustaining market.

What is the role of agencies in innovation?

Agencies are not just providers of a service - they add value by being strategic partners, technologists and catalysts of change, to address the problems their clients have. They look beyond the immediate BAU performance and get to the core of their clients' needs.

Partnering with agencies allows you to access new types of skills that are typically hard to recruit internally - such as data science and automation roles - even if you do get sign off, it’s hard to find those people in the job market.

If you’re looking to start your marketing transformation journey or see where you can improve, get in touch to find out how we can help.

Want to take part in our next Data Transformation roundtable? Register your interest here.

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