When thinking of the future, marketers do not dream about dabbling in ETL or putting data into a data lake – they are thinking of a future where data flows freely throughout the company, making the most of first-party assets, whether they are attracting new consumers in a future dominated by walled gardens, or nurturing and retaining existing ones. Brands must create and adhere to global data standards to realize this vision, and they must do it immediately.
The advertising industry is working hard to ensure that consumer privacy is protected in the future without compromising marketing. To both gain new customers and make the most of the ones they already have, forward-thinking marketers are counting on “future-proof” methods fueled by first-party data.
However, an organization’s capacity to master soon-to-be best practises, such as contextual targeting, unified customer experiences, personalization at scale and creative automation, is contingent on its ability to lay a solid foundation. And this requires data standards.
While creating data standards may not be particularly enjoyable, it lays the groundwork for the future-proof marketing concepts that organizations are scrambling to implement. It’s also the doorway to a world where marketers aren’t bound by the whims of walled gardens or rely on the revolving door of digital identity-solution alternatives, but instead focus on maximizing the value of first-party assets.
Here’s how to develop and implement a holistic approach to the company’s data.
Strategy, collaboration and a data dictionary
Conflicting taxonomies based on diverse data sources and metadata tags are frequently used by marketing teams and external partners who build campaigns on behalf of the same company. When data structures and values are incorrect, marketing execution errors occur. Organizing this data, however, helps better marketing now and in the future, when ID/device-level tracking isn’t viable.
In broad strokes, the following considerations should be kept in mind while creating data taxonomy:
- Determine who owns channels and information domains among internal and external stakeholders.
- Determine which data points to include, create metadata, and add hierarchy and relationships in collaboration with stakeholders.
- Create a data dictionary that provides a common data language that can be used across multiple data sources.
- Create a naming conventions standard for content, campaigns, digital discounts, product listings, and other areas.
- Develop procedures for upgrading data standards as appropriate and informing all teams of any changes.
Ensuring Team(s) buy-in
For achieving data standardization and then preserving it, marketers need to educate the company about why it is crucial. They need to ensure that every department, including the leadership team, understands that standards enable teams to track and analyse every aspect of each campaign, including campaign configuration, creative attributes, media, and campaign spend, in order to future-proof marketing.
They should communicate the practical advantages that will enhance employees’ day-to-day work, such as:
- Getting rid of barriers like ambiguous taxonomies and mismatched metadata tags.
- Improving campaign measurement across platforms, devices and channels.
- Providing teams with the tools they need to streamline automated marketing workflows and gain more control over their activities.
- Developing more efficient data experience models.
- Increasing the return on investment
Today, brand marketers are responding to some of the most significant changes in the history of digital advertising. Adopting a marketing data governance strategy will be a major undertaking. Careers were built on cookies. Companies now need the systems and people in place to embrace privacy-friendly targeting and measurement options. However, it is crucial to cultivating a culture of agility. How will the marketing team make quick decisions and pivot on the fly if they have to wait a week for data analysts to scrub and review data?
They need to make it clear that this is a cultural shift that will touch everyone in the organization. They should enlist the help of learning and development to devise a strategy for up skilling and reskilling. Finally, they should consider methods, such as regular audits, to ensure that all departments and external partners follow data standards.
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