In 2022, there is data everywhere. Too much data. Handling it all can be overwhelming and with such an abundance of data, you’d think it would be easy to use effectively. Wrong. Many businesses struggle to use data to its full potential if at all.
If you use any type of technology in your business, you have a whole lot of data at your fingertips. But if you were to honestly ask – Is my organization using this data in the most effective way possible? The answer would likely be no.
Enter – Data activation. Let’s discover all there is to know about data activation. From what it is, how it works, how your company can use it, and the benefits it can bring you. We have a lot to get through, so let’s jump right in.
What Is Data Activation?
Data activation is the act of pulling any data your company has access to. Across everything from your tech stack, including Google analytics audience insights, banking apps, and payment processing software. Even third-party entities your company uses, provide super valuable data.
However, gathering large amounts of data by itself is useless and data activation means turning it into usable data and an actionable usage plan. A data drive marketing/sales plan that drives business. Through expanding your reach, specific marketing campaigns, audience segmentation, improved customer experience, and streamlining the sales process, data will help you do it.
Data activation helps you do business better and is available across all aspects of your business. Collecting, storing it in one place, and analyzing data, takes time, money, and considerable effort. Not to mention a dedicated team. This process takes what is essentially just numbers and turns them into something useful and actionable.
Pass this clean, useable data to your marketing team where they can create super-specific campaigns aimed at small segmented groups within your audience.
While data activation pulls your data into one area and makes it useful, how does data activation work?
How Does It Work?
When it comes to how data activation works, things get a little complex. In concept, data activation is very simple, but in practice, it’s a whole new story. Before explaining how data activation works, it’s good to know there are 2 types of data common in most businesses. 1st, party, and 3rd party data.
1st-party data is the data you gather directly from your customers. This is what you get from direct interaction with your customers. First-party data is the most valuable form of data and provides insights into how customers buy.
Your data management team then collects this data or you can obtain it through software tools. Then you can combine all your data from across your tech stack into one place. For example, data from your social media accounts, Google analytics, website traffic, email sign-ups, sales records, and payment processing software.
This is relatively straightforward and you can pass this data onto your marketing team to create super-targeted campaigns by deeply understanding how and why your audience buys.
Third-party data, on the other hand, is a little more complicated. This data is collected from any third-party entity associated with your business. To understand this best, let’s look at an example. Joe owns a property rental business and typically makes bookings through his website. However, from time to time he gets bookings from 3rd party sites such as Airbnb and Booking.com.
The data collected from these third parties are super valuable to Joe and can help back up the 1st party data he already has. Essentially your data is coming from a wider range of sources making the data, more accurate, reliable, timely, and useful.
Data from these third-party sites, however, is much more difficult to acquire. requiring a team to collect, store and analyze it. This needs to come from third-party entities, then combined with 1st party data. Now you know how data activation works, let’s find out how many companies are simply unable to use this data abundance effectively.
How Companies Have Data But Are Unable To Use It Properly?
Any company in the 21st century has so much data across a variety of platforms. But many fail to use it effectively or neglect it completely. From 1st party platforms, such as your website, social platforms, booking systems, and analytical tools. They all provide massive amounts of data. Oh, and that’s not to mention the 3rd party data, think back to Joe and his booking site.
The problem many companies experience is in the process of gathering data, sorting it into one place, and then using it effectively. While gathering data from 1st party sources is relatively simple, especially by using a data analysts/management team, dealing with data quality issues, and having the extra level of complexity with 3rd party sites, makes things significantly more difficult.
Data quality issues can serve as a huge barrier to many companies. Data isn’t simply data, there is good and bad data. Good data is defined by how useful it is. Some common issues regarding data and its quality include data gaps, relevancy, consistency, accuracy, timeliness, and overall value. Without these factors considered, you don’t know how useful data is.
For example, X company might have huge amounts of data coming in from 1st and 3rd-party sources. However much of the third-party data is outdated and has missing values. This issue requires data cleansing, which takes time, money, and effort as well as a data cleansing team. Many companies don’t have access to this, lacking the budget and means necessary.
How Does Activating Your Data Provide Value To A Company?
You now know how data activation works and how companies have a hard time using it effectively. But how does activating data provide value?
Results Of Data Activation?
Once all your data has been pulled together, cleaned, and turned into reliable, usable data, it can be passed onto your marketing and sales teams, who can then use it to work their magic. Creating effective campaigns and a more personalized customer buying experience. And in turn, driving business.
There are so many results/benefits your organization will gain from activating data. From a fantastic customer experience, based on data to creating a personalized buying experience, to highly targeted marketing campaigns. Your marketing team can use the data to analyze your customers, find out how they behave, when they buy, and target audience members on an individual level. This makes for super effective marketing and a boost in sales. Directed marketing resulting in more sales, is the sole reason you need data right?
Another way this data could be used is to advertise on platforms such as Facebook. Data is then used to match up with the super-specific ad targeting feature the platform offers. By using lots of reliable data, you are refining and streamlining your marketing and sales processes.
This is both a great buying experience for the customer as well as a fantastic way for you to upsell.
What Can Be Lost Without Data Activation?
Without the use of data activation, you are not only missing out on all the benefits it brings, but your business cannot run at maximum effectiveness. All the benefits and applications of data such as effective marketing, audience segmentation, targeted ads, customer retention, and creating personalized buying experiences can’t happen without data activation.
Why Should A Company Step In This Direction?
It’s 2022. Right now there has never been so much data readily available at your fingertips, so why not use it? Data isn’t going anywhere anytime soon either, so companies should move more towards using it effectively than neglecting it.
In the future, as more companies grow (e.g your competition) these companies will have the budgets and means to use all their data as effectively as possible, so by not moving in this direction you risk missing out on all the benefits and falling behind the competition.
Applications Of Data Activation
Although there are many applications of data activation, resulting in numerous benefits for your company, let’s take a look at that in more detail. One of the best ways data activation can be used is through highly targeted marketing, audience segmentation, specific ad generation, and creating a personalized customer buying experience.
For example, say you own an e-commerce store that sells sportswear, and customers buy a wide range of products, and because of the nature of sportswear, most items you sell are interlinked somewhat and so you want to start recommending products you may like under a ‘customers who bought X, also bought Y, Amazon style.
So anyone who purchases running shoes will also see personalized recommendations under the buy now button which allows the customer to add items such as socks, tee shirts, or a water bottle.
Data makes this type of feature possible by recording all the details of everyone who buys your products. Recording data on each specific customer will also allow you to create a super personalized buying experience, based on what they have purchased already and even how that particular person interacts with your site.
It’s without a doubt that right now, whether you are a small business or a large well-established company data is abundant out there. The issue isn’t having enough data to work with, but rather how we can manage, store, analyze and handle such large amounts to use it properly.
Now you know what data activation is, how it works, why it’s useful, and what it can do for your company. It’s without a doubt that this data can be advantageous to your company through streamlining internal processes, improving sales, more direct and effective marketing, and creating a better customer experience.
If you want to start taking advantage of data activation, consider IronFocus. Contact them today to find out how they can help you take large quantities of data and make it usable for analysis and driving business forward.
Our team of expert data analysts here at Iron Focus use industry-tested insights that will help your business grow. From marketing, and customer retention, to sales. Contact us today and find out how we can help your business.