Jayson DeMers, founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, recently wrote an article for Forbes entitled, “2014 Is The Year Of Digital Marketing Analytics: What It Means For Your Company.” The article takes a quick look at some strategic approaches digital marketers can take to improve their performance in 2014. All of the approaches involve data and analytics, and one concept particularly caught our eye – corporate data culture. DeMers says…

Corporate data culture is a spectrum that can often be classified as follows:

  • No or limited data: This company is moving fast and hasn’t made time for data. Or perhaps the value of data isn’t understood, or resources are limited and the focus is elsewhere (usually on key performance indicators related to growth).
  • Basic data: An organization at this stage may have a basic data program installed that offers feedback on some aspect of their digital marketing. For example, they may have Google Analytics on their website and track high-level trends, but it’s only used for directional indication rather than specific feedback loops.
  • Deeper data that’s siloed or controlled: At this level, parts of the organization have access to deeper data collection and reporting tools. Access to the data may be limited to executives and reporting staff, or filtered through a reporting department. Data may be deemed relevant only at certain times of the fiscal year or sales cycle, or only for certain positions.
  • Democratic data access: This company’s data efforts are led by a data expert setting the vision, and analysis and reporting is done regularly by qualified staff. By decision makers and stakeholders throughout the organization are empowered as much as possible to access data that they need and want throughout the year.

At Origami Logic, we spend a lot of time talking to organizations that are trying to make their marketing data more accessible and relevant for key decision making. Based on our discussions, we would offer a slightly different take on the corporate data culture:

  • No or limited data: Organizations like this – as described above by DeMers – probably do exist but we haven’t interacted with any of them.
  • Basic data access that’s siloed: For this level, thanks to analytics capabilities provided by many of the digital marketing services, marketers have basic access to data that is generated by the digital marketing activities they are executing. This enables them to improve the performance of activities, but only for a particular service. The problem with this level is that data is siloed within each marketing service, which greatly limits an organization’s ability to measure key performance indicators that require data from multiple services.
  • Basic data access across silos: For this level, many organizations are using Excel to try to “integrate” data from multiple digital marketing services, in order to get a feel for performance across activities. Ultimately, however, the end result is usually just a visual representation of combined data (i.e., a dashboard). In addition, bringing data together in Excel is a very time consuming and error-prone process so, as DeMers points out, access to data is usually limited to a small number of people and data is refreshed only when absolutely needed (i.e., not often).
  • Holistic, democratic data access: At Origami Logic, we strive to bring all organizations to this level. We want to make all digital marketing data, regardless of its source, easily accessible and ready to be used for single- and cross-activity, data-driven decision making. That’s the “holistic” part. We also want to make that data available to whoever needs access to it, whenever they need that access. That’s the “democratic” part.

What do you think of our take on DeMer’s corporate data culture spectrum? What stage is your company in? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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