We’re inundated with data. So what? Why care? How does it benefit my association? This three-part series will help you use data to improve your marketing strategies and, ultimately, your bottom line. Part 1 focuses on the emergence of the Chief Data Officer. Part 2 will share practical tips to mine your data. Part 3 will discuss measuring your data through branding, social media and website scorecards.
What is data anyway?
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, data is factual information (as measurements or statistics) used as a basis for reasoning, discussion or calculation. Data is plentiful today, but often underutilized. Data is also meaningless unless it is reviewed, analyzed and used to make mission-critical association decisions.
As an integrated marketer, I believe all marketing efforts are measurable and data is not only one of associations’ most valued tools, but a must-have marketing tool. One of my favorite quotes about data comes from Carly Fiorina, former executive president and chair of Hewlett-Packard, who said: “The goal is to turn data into information and information into insight.” See Hank Berkowitz’s article for more on turning data into actionable intelligence.
In other words, companies and marketers have data, but what are they really doing with it? That is the critical question?
Chief Data Officers are the newest trend
We are already beginning to see the newest C-Suite title emerge: Chief Data Officer (CDO).
The discussion around the CDO title began in 2012. According to an article by Associations Now, “there is an opportunity for more associations to get in on the data hype,” said Debbie King, CEO of DSK Solutions. Most associations, especially small to mid-size, might not need such a high-level data officer, but instead may hire a director or manager of data information.
The title event has a Wikipedia entry, which defines the role as “a corporate officer responsible for enterprise-wide governance and utilization of information as an asset, via data processing, analysis, data mining information trading and other means.”
“There are also Chief Data Officer (CDO) titles emerging given the increasingly complex challenge of Data Management, and growth of Big Data and Analytics, as our world continues to explode in data everywhere,” according to Cindy Gordon, CEO and founder of SalesChoice Inc. “The new rabbit hole is a very promising one, as companies are increasingly turning to sales analytics solutions that provide an enterprise-wide data flow to maintain a competitive position in the market. Companies are turning to sales prediction analytic solutions that provide an enterprise-wide data flow intelligence into the forecasting process.”
ZDNet cites Gartner Vice President and Analyst Debra Logan in one of its blogs: “Data chiefs tend to have a more compliance-focused role and are emerging, for example, in banking and insurance and in companies with a burden of litigation and regulation.” Some 19 percent of business leaders expect to recruit a CDO in 2014, while 17 percent foresee a CDO appointment, according to a study by Gartner.
Gartner Analyst Mark Raskino shares five interesting facts about CDOs:
- There are more than 100 chief data officers (carrying that actual job title) serving in large enterprises today. That’s more than double the number we counted in 2012.
- Banking, Government and Insurance are the Top 3 industries for Chief Data Officers—in that order. However, we are now seeing other industries rising.
- Sixty-five percent of Chief Data Officers are in the United States. 20 percent are in the UK. There are now CDOs in more than a dozen countries.
- More than 25 percent of all Chief Data Officers are in New York or Washington, D.C. It’s a regulatory catalyzed trend—at least in the early stages.
- More than 25 percent of Chief Data Officers are women.In case you are wondering, that’s almost twice as high as for CIOs (13 percent).
Data? So what?
Some predict marketers will fail as we face volumes of data that machines are better at processing. Whether you agree or disagree with data, the truth is it exists and is plentiful today. Dashboards and analytics offer a great deal of information about demographics, geographics, traffic resources and much more information than ever before.
Data can expand your knowledge about your industry, competitors, customers and prospects. It can validate or not validate business models and the needs for new products. It can help identify your competitive advantages and market differentiators. It can help formulate marketing strategies. It can provide industry benchmarks and best practice Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). It can help measure and track Return on Investment (ROI) so you can adjust marketing strategies accordingly. In essence, data can inform mission-critical business decisions and make a difference to your bottom line.
Are you using available data to benefit your association?
Most associations can better incorporate data analysis into their strategic missions. Here are three tips:
- Connect Google Analytics—a free tool—to your website and review the data at a minimum of once a month. This offers detailed insights about where your traffic is coming from. For example, is your website responsive on mobile devices. One of my B2B (business-to-business) clients receives 20 percent of its website traffic from smartphones and tablets.
- While there are many ways to capture and measure data, perhaps the simplest method is a scorecard. For starters and food for thought, here’s a lead generation scorecard we hope you will use and share.
- Conduct a marketing audit of your current efforts using the data and analytics you have—even if that data is feedback from your members. Determine what is working well, identify gaps and areas for improvement, then brainstorm about new marketing strategies and tactics that will help you achieve your business goals for 2014.
Download a complimentary marketing audit template from Christina Motley, LLC by registering here.
Christina Motley is an integrated Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)-on-Demand and member of the Association Executives of North Carolina (AENC) and serves on its Communications Task Force A. Learn more at www.christinamotley.com.