data-informed strategy

It’s Time To Double Down On Data Strategy

The order of the day for businesses relying on consumer data should be to build better. This means rapidly shifting to a better data strategy, better technology to process that data, and people who know how to deal with this new environment’s challenges.

Editor’s Note:  If you’re noticing more content on TheCustomer on the topics of data privacy and data ethics – as a guide toward a better data strategy, then we must be doing something right.  Over the coming months we’ll be talking to some of the leading thinkers in that space as well as some of the practitioners who are tasked with implementing these strategies in the actual trenches.  Stay tuned.  Stay close.

Very soon, the most comprehensive privacy law in the United States yet – the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) — will be a reality, giving Californians more control over their personal information. Essentially the US version of the European Union’s General Data Protection Act (GDPR), the CCPA has some US companies looking beyond California and choosing to comply with CCPA guidelines for all their US customers.

By Briggs Davidson

Although consumers are likely to enjoy newfound choice and transparency into the personal data companies collect, the picture will become more complicated for businesses that depend on this data. The regulatory environment will be stricter, and the landscape in which their data infrastructure sits will grow more complex.

Consider that a primary source of consumer data is the big three platform companies – Google, Amazon and Facebook – all of which hold user-level data closely within walled gardens. Layering CCPA compliance onto the technical hurdles these walled gardens already present will demand even more from businesses that need this data. Then there are organizational considerations. Master data management has historically been a function of IT, though it’s increasingly the purview of the CMO.

How can companies prepare?

The order of the day for businesses relying on consumer data should be to build better. This means rapidly shifting to a better data strategy, better technology to process that data, and people who know how to deal with this new environment’s challenges. A build-better approach might not seem novel, but it’s critical to avoid a loss of data fidelity moving into 2020.

Orient Data Strategy Around the Customer

A clear data strategy is critical for CCPA compliance, and developing one is easier when you start with the customer. At its core, data strategy is about how an organization collects, organizes and activates data. Ideally, it contains a vision, program objectives, business case or supporting rationale and a delivery road map. Companies should focus on how they store customer data across silos that may need to meet CCPA compliance, such as marketing and IT.

Crystalize the Use of First-Party Data

Many companies focus on scaling use of their own first-party data — often sourced from CRM systems and other internal platforms – to minimize risk and improve customer experiences. This can be a real challenge, as solving for scale often includes a shift in marketing strategies to ensure consumers have a reason to share their data. So be prepared for such a potential shift, and remember that delivering value to the consumer is critical to building trust and helping drive business value.

Embrace New Analytics Platforms

CCPA is driving tech companies to change the way marketers can access customer data. Historical approaches to media analytics will evolve as it will be more difficult to maintain a unified customer view across platforms. During the next two years, expect to see data clean rooms increase in importance. Essentially, they provide an analysis workspace enabling marketers to combine their first-party data with platform-level customer data. Strict privacy controls ensure that no customer level data can leave the clean room, further strengthening consumer privacy and driving the need for new analysis approaches. Google’s Ads Data Hub is one of the most well-known, but it still doesn’t have broad recognition among marketing analytics professionals. This kind of approach will likely proliferate within the major platform providers, so companies will likely start working with them in the next 18 months.

Build Flexible Teams and Embrace Collaboration

The year 2020 will bring many unknowns for data. Broad changes in the technology and regulatory landscape increase the need for multidisciplinary teams, and organizations will need a broad mix of people who can adapt to those new environments. Google is likely to further restrict the DoubleClick ID sometime in 2020, and companies need operators to help create a single customer view within the Google ecosystem. This will require not only specialized skills, but a change-oriented mindset among the people who will fill these roles. They’ll likely need to pair a technical resource who knows SQL, for instance, with a business resource who can help drive insight generation.

Orient Data Strategy Around the Customer

Of course, all of these efforts should be socialized across the partner ecosystem. Sharing the data strategy broadly will ensure that everyone involved in collecting customer data is aware of what’s being stored and how it’s being used. And while the CFO historically had little to do with detailed marketing data, that’s about to change because a build-better approach usually requires additional resources. Marketing and IT will need to make shared requests for capital expenditures to support this approach.

Businesses that want to accelerate digital growth in 2020 should embrace change and focus on finding new opportunities in the data and analytics landscape created by CCPA. While CCPA will change how all organizations store and access data, this shift is just the first of many expected in the next few years.

Successful businesses will embrace the unknowns with optimism and a plan: Optimism because the future holds possibilities for a more strategic use of their data, and a plan to take advantage of that.

Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media. Today’s column is written by Briggs Davidson, senior manager at Deloitte Consulting. This article originally appeared in AdExchanger. Photo by Blake Wisz on Unsplash.

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