Good Data In, Good Answers Out: Essence of Data Management in the Era of Data Explosion

Contributed by:

Danielle Adler, Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide, a WPP Health & Wellness company

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Today we have no shortage of data, and the amount that we will be able to utilize continues to increase. While data management can be overwhelming, successful companies are beginning to utilize and realize its power. With proper protocols, business rules, collaborative capabilities, and specialists to monitor functionality, data can amplify marketing effectiveness. We have seen the strength of proper data management and its effect on customer decision-making, targeting, and campaign optimization. Companies that are far along this data maturity spectrum tend to have tightly aligned data management and analysis.

So what’s next? Data has become the most valuable currency and precious commodity. However, the need for and power of data are not new. Back in 2014, Baseline reported that: “a 10% increase in data accessibility translates into an additional $65.7 million in net income for a typical Fortune 1000 company.” Why have we not figured it out yet? Why do we not understand exactly what to do with our data, how to manipulate it, and how to make it work for us?

Addressing Common Challenges

Companies become overwhelmed with information overload. Out of busyness and task prioritization, data management gets relegated to the back burner. The entire concept of how data can help an organization becomes something that companies want to tackle in a hypothetical tomorrow. Here are some of the key challenges we hear about daily, along with their effective solutions:

Fragmented Sources: Data comes from everywhere. Media data often comes from DoubleClick, Google Adwords, and Bing AdCenter. Website data can come from Site Catalyst, Google Analytics, and WebTrends. As Facebook develops its own analytical platforms, data now comes directly from the source, while more broad social analysis comes from companies such as Talkwalker and Brandwatch. Healthcare Rx, access, and audience data comes from Symphony and IMS, with new channels such as EHR coming from OptimizeRx and RxNT. CRM databases and engagement can also be thrown into the mix with channels like Salesforce and Veeva, and with all of the different platforms, someone’s head could explode. We have many different formats and types of data, with few common points of overlap or user identification to bring everything together.

With API software and data aggregators like Hadoop and Tableau, the data world becomes more manageable. We are able to draw meaningful conclusions from our plethora of data systems and integrate different customer interactions to tell a story. While the data management journey can be complicated, the experience needs to be seamless to consumers. We begin to manage our fragmented resources and use the broad reach of data in our favor. We also begin to put the individual targets at the center and look at how a user engages with different channels simultaneously, helping us to achieve our goal of one-to-one marketing.

Automation: How can we be sure that our automated systems are running properly? Automation can be a wonderful tool with very effective and efficient outcomes, or it can lead to the inaccurate processing of thousands of data points very quickly. The garbage in, garbage out paradigm can be alive and well with subpar automation.

Some of the most effective ways to combat the data automation pitfalls are to make sure that we 1) create multi-scenario business rules; 2) define storage requirements; and 3) process data correctly upon arrival.  When we have the right process set in place long before our data arrives, we have a much higher likelihood of success.

While we talk about machines replacing all human functionality, machines are not always able to catch system bugs, breakpoints, or bottlenecks as well as humans can. Machines are not able to update business rules when needed or recommend process changes without the human touch. We always have to make sure that analysts and developers are employed around data management to successfully monitor our method. At OCHWW, we have worked with companies such as Oracle, IBM, or SAP to carry out effective automated processes, with a keen eye on the analysis needed. For example, with SAP software specifically, we can automate the categorization, but we export some cross-division of the data every week to make sure that all functions are working as they should.

Many of the challenges of dealing with data in the volume we have available today could cripple its use; however, through more mature software, sophisticated analysis, and a better understanding of individual data points, we can make sense of the data and use it to our advantage. We can use the data to tell marketing performance stories and tackle real-time business questions. As more data sources are created every day, we will continue to investigate ways to bring the data together to produce meaningful insights.

Understanding the Benefits of Data

Data allows us to answer questions like “How are customers interacting with our brands?,” “What do customers find important?,” and “What can we do to help our bottom line?” Companies can no longer put data on the back burner and shy away from the massive quantities of useful information they have the ability to evaluate. In order to be successful, companies have to leverage data management in the following ways:

Quick Decision-Making: In many scenarios, the “gut feeling” or general “hunch” can now be replaced with a simple A/B testing situation. We can deploy two e-mails at the same time to a contingent of the greater audience and have the results within days (or even real time) to understand which e-mail performed better and should be distributed to the broader audience.

For years, creative testing has been a solely qualitative endeavor. Marketers regularly travel all across the country to conduct small focus group studies. While this method can still be very beneficial, it can be quite time intensive, usually taking weeks, with a small sample size. Digital creative testing and data analysis can allow for faster creative decisions. Brands can survey hundreds of individuals in different segments in different parts of the world and collate the data in just a week or two to understand the best rollout plan. Brands can quickly understand what is going to resonate with their audience and even set up measurement to understand performance once the creative rolls out.

Breaking Through the Noise: As the renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow states, “When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail.”  If we assume that every customer has the same needs, desires, and wants, we will not be able to break through the noise. Sometimes, we send the same e-mail with the same creative to all different types of physicians. We do not consider the various HCP specialties, years in practice, private office or hospital affiliations, patient demographics, and individual communication preferences. We do not allow ourselves to target our customers in a segmented market.

At OCHWW, we are currently in the process of building a proprietary-insight engine that unifies first-, second-, and third-party data to help marketers understand physician behaviors. We focus our evaluation within this engine on understanding behaviors to answer key business questions. We also identify areas of opportunity to engage with physicians on an individual basis.

We can use this data and observed behaviors to segment our audiences and figure out the most efficient ways to speak with them. Data helps us understand where to reach the social media–native Millennial, the home-owning Gen-Xer, or the retirement-seeking Baby Boomer. Data helps us understand how different patient demographics and HCPs think about their healthcare. In a recent Kantar study, only 58% of Millennials stated that they trust their physicians, compared to 73% of non-Millennials.  Therefore, the prevalent “visit your doctor” call to action may not work for this younger generation. Instead, we may have to segment Millennials and target them through different means, such as creating more calls to action for store visits, minute-clinics, or online resources. Data can help us communicate targeted messages to our various audiences, and in essence, helps us to expand our toolkit.

Continuous Analysis: Access to data and efficient data management allow for constant campaign tracking and reporting. As we approach 2018 Brand Planning, marketers, planners, strategists, and creatives alike begin to think about how the 2017 campaign performed. Was it “good,” “bad,” “successful?” Is it something that we should do again? If we have a data-management system in place, we can better address these questions.

At the beginning of each campaign, we have to think about our key performance indicators, which are the metrics that tell us where we are successful, and where we should optimize. Evaluating data allows us to produce campaign snapshots, scorecards, and action trackers that help us understand where we are in the campaign. Data management allows us to continuously monitor and measure our campaigns. Software such as Tableau even enrich our visualization opportunities so that we can take all of our disparate sources, bring them together, and tell a cohesive story. Brands should be asking data-informed questions continuously, and know the answers well before 2018 brand planning rolls around.

Data Management and Analysis

In our world today, we have no shortage of data, and the amount that we will be able to utilize continues to increase. Companies that operate well and continue to grow are the ones with tightly aligned data management and analysis.

We are now able to use data to segment our audiences, identify our target based on behaviors, and find the most efficient ways to speak with them. Data helps us understand where and when to use a specific channel, medium, or message. These nuances foster great reach, create better performing campaigns, and put the right message in front of the right person. (PV)

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Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide — the health behavior specialists of Ogilvy & Mather and a WPP Health & Wellness company — is committed to creativity and effectiveness in healthcare communications, everywhere.
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