Is More Data Better? How Do You Know You Have the Right Data?

By | May 14, 2013

When it comes to marketing blogs, there is always a flavor de jour. Currently, it’s big data. If not “big data,” then at least more data. So it was interesting when Thorin McGee, editor of Target Marketing, asked the question, “Can you ever have too much data?”

The question was asked on a LinkedIn board, along with an online poll, and the responses so far are limited and not yet useful, but there were two comments to the post that are worth thinking about.

The line is to stop collecting data, when the cost of collecting it exceeds your ability to use it to improve your profitability. — David Himes (Direct Commerce Advisors)

You can never have enough of the “right” data. Data that is collected should provide insights and [be] collected for the purpose of answering questions that are important for the future health, development and achieving the marketing objectives of the business. Too much data is collected because it can be collected and not because it is useful or needed. And, often or not, not understood or acted upon in any case! — Rob Wilcox (WebMedia Inbound Marketing)

Print businesses are frequently talking about helping their customers collect data, but what kind of data? You append your database and set up PURL surveys to collect all sorts of information, but is that data actually going to help your customers market better? What questions are being asekd to determine which data is the right data to improve marketing results? After all, you can personalize something without making it relevant.

How do you know what questions to ask to make sure you’re gathering the right data to help your customers?

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3 thoughts on “Is More Data Better? How Do You Know You Have the Right Data?

  1. Patrick Surrena

    I’ve been working with data since about 1995 when selling p;ringing for a large printer and entering our personalization era. Since then, I’ve been knee deep in data.

    Yes, there is a point when you can have too much data. But depending on what you’re doing with itm if anything, even a little data can be too much for some folks.

    The biggest issue I’ve seen is not the amount of data, or even the ability to analyze it as almost everyone can generate charts and graphs and tell us what percentage of this or that we’re looking at. But the bigger issue IMHO, is having someone with a marketing mindset to look at that data and tell the client what it means from a marketing standpoint.

    A lot of people have a lot of data and have “some” interpretation of it, but what they don’t have is the interpretation from a marketing point of view and how that can/should alter their programs, or approaches. Applying a marketing mindset to data analysis is the true key and many don’t understand how deep that can go and therefore stop at a superficial level.

  2. Dylan Lott

    It’s not about how much data you have, it’s about how you setup your gathering system, how you’re interpreting that data, WHO is interpreting that data, and how efficiently that system turns numbers into graphs.

  3. Joe Manos

    Great post Heidi and a very relevant topic in today’s world.

    You stated it earlier – you can never have too much of the right data!

    Then what and how you use the data depends on the company’s objectives and are we going to leverage it for customer or prospect communication.

    Two paths – two different strategies ad use cases depending on the organization.

    You have to have great technology that allows you to “drip” on the customer or prospect with relevant communication, offers and ongoing dialogue about what interests the customer or prospect.

    Finally, a great process for ongoing marketing effectiveness coupled with tracking and measurement to gather new insights about the data that will lead to new behavioral marketing activities.

    But, it starts with gathering the right data and leveraging it appropriately throughout the customer experience and life cycle.

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