Staff Writer
Aug 1, 2022

Stop treating data governance like innovation. It’s table stakes.

Data-driven marketing isn’t new. Far from it.

Stop treating data governance like innovation. It’s table stakes.

For decades, marketers have strived to enrich their knowledge of customers and put that knowledge into action for more personalised messaging and more effective prospecting. So why is it then that so many data governance initiatives are being treated like innovation projects, versus the true fundamentals of good business that they are?

These days, a lot of data projects are being approved and spearheaded by the people who control a company’s innovation budget, rather than by data or marketing managers. This sets the wrong tone for data within an organisation. In reality, many of the projects being managed in this way should, at this point, be commonplace among brands. By treating them as innovation projects, companies are limiting the reach of their impact and sending the message that data is still considered an experimental investment. 
It’s time for companies to move data governance and activation out of the hands of “innovators” and into the hands of the people who need deeper customer and prospect insights on a day-to-day basis. Here are three areas where this shift is most sorely needed. 
Data onboarding
In today’s marketplace, it’s absolutely essential for brands to be able to take real-world insights and expand them into the digital space to communicate more effectively with current and future customers — and to do so in a way that is both precise and privacy compliant. That’s where onboarding comes in. And these days, onboarding is about more than just uniting offline and online data. It’s about transforming those assets into addressable digital audiences in order to reach existing customers and top prospects alike. By activating previously siloed first-party data as digital audiences, brands can target new customers that exhibit the same attributes as an existing customer base. This is absolute table stakes for marketing in today’s crowded digital ecosystem. 
Data enrichment
Beyond onboarding, brands need to be prioritising data enrichment as a means of doing more with their existing first-party data. Data enrichment enables brands to augment their first-party data with qualified consumer traits and personas. With the enhanced insights this process reveals, brands can improve their loyalty and retention efforts, optimise their acquisition strategies and generally boost campaign performance. Done right, the enrichment process can enable brands to reach existing and prospective customers in omnichannel environments by activating the newly enriched audiences on digital display, video, mobile, and social channels. 
The concept of enrichment isn’t a new one, but it’s more essential than ever in a privacy-first, first-party-data-driven world. That’s why we need to stop thinking of it as innovation and treat it like the foundational marketing component it is. 
Cookieless identity
Finally, let’s talk identity in a cookieless world. While everyone is still discussing the loss of third-party cookies as a future event, the reality is that the utility of the third-party cookie has been on the decline for years. That’s why an ID-agnostic identity approach shouldn’t be considered an innovation to be tested. It should be treated as an essential component of the customer experience with a brand. Brands need solutions that enable them to ingest any offline key or online ID (whether first-party, mobile, deterministic, contextual, or a universal ID) at a global scale, and they need to be able to onboard, enrich and activate data in their platform of choice. That’s entirely possible today — it’s not “experimental.” It’s a capability that should sit at the heart of an enterprise. 
Overall, it’s time for companies to shift their perspective on where data management and governance capabilities sit within their organisations. Today, data is a core enterprise asset. It needs to be budgeted for, paid for, and distributed as such in order to have the greatest impact possible.  
Aaron Jackson, chief growth officer, Eyeota

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