The more data that is out there, the more data people want. We can use data to our advantage… or to our disadvantage.
Ask the right questions to use your data well.
In this episode, I interview Robert Holmes, Marketing Data Operations and Analytics Manager at Couchbase, about what questions to ask your data, as well as how the future of data in marketing operations will look.
Join us as we discuss:
- The three phases of interrogating your data
- The evolving world of data privacy
- Qualities of a good martech platform
- The top three traits of a great martech team member
Robert’s career path from web development and IT ops to marketing data leader at Couchbase is incredibly unique. Through it all, he’s driven by three simple words:
When you start truly communicating with and listening to your clients, you’re able to uncover pain points even they’re unaware of and solve problems more holistically.
More than just a catchphrase, collaboration — being a real team player — is crucial, not just with your team but in your customer relations as well.
Through collaboration and open communication, you’ll deliver results that exceed expectations.
The rapidly occurring digital transformation means companies have to be flexible and adaptable to stay relevant. Workers are learning new skills and striving for cross-functionality.
In the midst of this evolution, successful marketers are leveraging data to execute more informed strategies, and approach challenges from a software development perspective.
Data is the new currency
As Robert points out, technology has been infused in every facet of our lives, from cars to payments to social interactions.
Movements in this vast ecosystem create massive data streams — and companies that harness this power will increase rev gen by deeply understanding their customers.
“As we're getting data, we need to look at it from not just what it is right now, but where it's going to take us.” — Robert Holmes III
Coming in hot to his position at Couchbase, Robert hit the ground running with three immediate data inquiries:
- Where have we been? Evaluate historical data.
- Where are we now? Ensure your customers are satisfied.
- Where are we going? Establish a growth plan.
Once you find the answers, your data begins to tell a story.
Collecting the right data doesn’t happen overnight — it’s something of a long-haul commitment. Businesses in a hyper-growth mindset can neglect meticulous data clean-up and analysis in favor of more instant gratification.
Robert suggests focusing on one data task at a time to achieve better results and help your organization mature.
It takes time to build the right process for deciphering all that your data has to offer.
Fancy martech software with shiny pre-made reports and complicated dashboards don’t always give you the answers you need. They can trip you up with pretty visuals instead of offering gritty, honest data analysis.
“Take a step back and start asking questions before you even look at the data.” — Robert Holmes III
Privacy vs. technology
Everyone is a consumer. Your personal experiences influence your B2B buyer preference for a frictionless transaction.
But with one-click simplicity comes vulnerability. Organizations must safeguard their customers’ data as well as their own from a multitude of threats.
The world is still trying to understand the complexity of data privacy. How can you protect yourself when you don’t even know what all’s out there?
No one’s quitting the internet
As long as customers want personalized experiences and utter convenience, data needs to be collected and manipulated. That’s just the way things work now.
While world governments are slowly catching up with the need for privacy laws, always secure your assets. Data compliance and privacy should be your most compelling motivations from the very beginning of your process.
“Privacy and accessibility — those should be top of mind when you're going through the initial design before you're even doing development.” — Robert Holmes III
Aligning your efforts
New martech platforms are spinning up each day, but Robert advises companies once more to focus on one thing at a time. When considering a stack change, he says the very first thing to address is ensuring that you have full access to your own data.
You can’t depend on another company to interpret your data for you. Cookie-cutter platforms might offer the world, but when the C-suite wants everything in one glittering view, you need data alignment over anything else.
That’s why Robert says it’s essential to start with questions.
If your martech stack is packed and you’re looking at a veritable ocean of data, it's easy to overload and freeze. Taking a step back and reviewing your questions will help you keep your goals in sight.
Integrating your various programs and platforms into one highly useful data stream wants the same laser-focused approach. As you drill down, you’ll reach more valuable insights.
Choosing your team
What does Robert consider the top personality traits for powerful, successful marketing teams?
Everything constantly changes all the time. You need to stay aligned with who you’re marketing to, and embrace new tech at the same rate — or faster — than your customers.
Robert’s final pearls of wisdom for marketing execs are simple: don’t be afraid to innovate, use your data wisely, and be proactive. “Think big, go after it.”