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Data Driven : Digital Marxism

Anyone can create value with the right data

February 2014 By Geoff Wolf
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During the next year, this column will explore this new world of opportunity that is unfolding in real time. We will look more in detail at:

  1. Handling offline analytics in a new query and reporting environment.
  2. Corralling Web data into a more useful tool chest.
  3. Salesforce data and how those elements may be enhanced to drive more meaningful relationships.
  4. Integrating point of service (POS) data in a more useful manner, without slowing down the register.
  5. Bringing all these media analytics into a common arena for discovery and actionable strategies.

At the end of the day, it's all about using analytical tools to create value from data, what the cost and ROI is on that process and how well actionable tactics are developed to create success. Let's look at an example.

The CEO is looking for a 10 percent increase in profitable sales next quarter, and calls the team together to develop a plan for this to happen. The first step for any business, small or large, is to get all of the data from the prior quarter into a single view and look for strategic levers to pull. That's right, it's the analytical team that all eyes are focused on right out of the gate. The team would dive into their databases and reporting practices, which probably include a number of people, tools and resources. There are as many variables of these practices out there as there are people reading this column. Returning to management a while later with prior season data and recommendations would be followed by a back-and-forth process during the next couple of weeks, and a strategy would be finalized.

What if a single person had the tools to take a simple transaction file and serve up a dashboard of key performance indicators (KPIs) that could drive, in real-time, a discovery process with the team to solve the problem of developing a strategy for achieving 10 percent growth next quarter? And all of this in a single meeting?

Data Driven metrics chart
[+] click to enlarge

On the chart (to the left) is a sample set of metrics that can be driven, today, in real-time, to drive the discovery process. Imagine replacing these KPIs with whatever your brand needs to drive success. Now imagine you can combine any of these elements in a relationship manner to discover strategies. Imagine all of this from a transaction file.

This year, we'll dive into the future with columns that look at our brave new world. In regard to the "what if" scenario above: Are we there yet? As an infant, yes we are! Hang on to those baby toes and here we go. A revolution has begun to rock the data world.

Geoff Wolf is EVP of client strategy at the Mission, Kan., direct marketing agency J. Schmid & Associates. Reach him at geoffw@jschmid.com.


 

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