Data Driven: The Battle of Prepositions
The stage of integrating the data into the reporting process now happens within the weekly, monthly or real-time framework that is already in place as soon as enough data is realized. The new data elements have already been added to the database and are available to query. When the time comes to report on the new initiative, the KPIs are queried, organized and added to the ongoing dashboards and success in reaching the strategic objectives considered.
There are two types of data environments: 1) by period or 2) real-time. The choice depends on the investment into IT resources. In the first case, questions are asked after IT reports to management and IT gets back with answers later on. In a second case, queries happen in real-time with the strategic team and many questions can be answered immediately. Those that are most complex wait for IT to complete more work.
The cyclical process is most common and has evolved over the decades as direct marketing data practices have matured and spreadsheet tools become more powerful. The real-time solution requires an upfront investment in time and database resources, but pays big dividends in the long run.
Regardless of the tools, you must still make a choice between integrating data from or with new marketing initiatives. Most importantly, you need to decide if the objectives and KPIs should be considered up front or after the investment is made into the initiative.
Geoff Wolf is executive vice president of client strategy at the Mission, Kan. direct marketing agency J. Schmid & Associates. Reach him at email@example.com.