Get a 360 Degree View
As a multichannel marketer, you have multiple points of interaction with customers, which means you also have numerous data sources. How do you determine what data needs to be integrated to get a holistic view of your customers?
A good way to start is to identify and define what data you need from a marketing communications standpoint, points out Tom Young, executive vice president, database marketing services, Knowledgebase Marketing. What data do you require to drive your communications strategy? For example, if you are doing campaign management, you know you'll need to add campaign history data.
According to Stoughton, for each data element, you need to ask: "Does it have a predictive or descriptive value or satisfy a business rule? If not, you should challenge the value of bringing the data into the environment."
As you review the data you have, you also need to ask what data you've missed or what information would be effective when collected and where can you get it, points out McClary. This information potentially could come from point-of-sale data capture, your Web site or call center, or even a third-party data source.
You also need to anticipate future marketing needs. Data integration is "not just about getting data together in one place and getting it clean," says Fitzpatrick. For example, she explains that a marketer selling homeowner insurance may determine that its best prospects have a flower box or garden on their property. Reason stands that someone who obviously cares about the look of his or her home is less likely to be a bad risk. So, the marketer may decide to rent lists of home-owners who buy gardening supplies via mail order.
"The key is to make deliberate and overt decisions about what is valuable to the marcom process—not just all data within three years or 24 months," says Young. If you have too much data, he explains, you will unnecessarily use development time and resources. In addition, if the database isn't understandable or user-friendly, it won't be used effectively.