Your Data Warehouse is Currently your Company’s Crown Jewels — and that’s a Problem

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Every day I hear new ways people use data to help target their marketing efforts and reach new customers. The amount of data that’s available today affords tremendous opportunities to create more relevant messages for consumers, with better-targeted ads, emails, and more to drive increased online sales. But are brands today using the right data? Do they even know what data they have? The emergence of Cloud Data Warehouses (CDW) and platforms such as Snowflake gives marketers an unprecedented opportunity to combine historical customer data, real-time behavior, and AI-driven predictions to really get a sense of a customer’s journey. As it stands, people may not be aware of what data is available, and if they do, they often don’t know how to apply it.

A well-curated cloud database can be the crown jewel for a company trying to reach customers, especially when cross-app tracking is limiting access to data and driving up ad rates. For many companies, the cloud data warehouse has evolved to become the single source of truth and a comprehensive catalog of data across the entire organization. A warehouse combining multiple data sources can create more effective marketing messages and drive more revenue. We’ve seen a 52% year-over-year growth in cloud data warehouse volume, but only 30% of CEOs believe their analytics strategy aligns with their business strategy. 

And that’s the problem – often the cloud data warehouse as it’s currently being used feels, like the actual Crown Jewels, not much better than a historical museum piece: something that’s looked at, admired, analyzed, but not actionable. Its primary use cases are normally for powering reporting and insights – not something tied to strategic revenue growth. Many marketing professionals may not even realize what they can do with the data already in their warehouse because the legacy marketing clouds they operate out of aren’t built to use their complete data infrastructure to create more relevant messages. So don’t treat your data like a museum exhibit – figure out how to put it to work. 

When companies try to pull together all the data streams in a warehouse, they can run into several challenges that make it hard to get a comprehensive picture and create effective personalization. Here are a few ways to help you combat these problems and drive meaningful results using your cloud data warehouse.

  1. Making sense of your MarTech Investments – Make sure any technology you invest in is designed to work with your cloud data warehouse. Many providers have retrofitted previous generations of data technology, resulting in a clumsy integration with the CDW. You should evaluate questions like: Can your segmentation systems scale to dozens or hundreds of customer fields? Is your customers’ identity centralized? Does your data contain the breadth needed to execute against core use cases? Is your governance fully integrated?
  1. Silos will slow you down – Today, data needs to be shared across the company to understand customers and streamline operations. Any time a marketing team member has to make a specific request for data from the data team, this slows down your whole sales funnel. Make sure your team can access comprehensive data from your cloud data warehouse on demand without everyone needing to learn SQL or pull data from different silos.
  1. Strategize. Align. Repeat – Once the above are in place, you should spend time with your data team to strategize. What areas of the customer lifecycle need better data, and what are key use cases? For example, a gym that is trying to optimize for trainer sessions may want to invest in data that gives visibility into class attendance or visitation hours so it can align trainer schedules with customer demand. Together with your data team you can continually refresh your warehouse to get the most value from historical and real-time data. 

These suggestions will allow you to take the crown jewels out of their display case and put them to use. You’re ultimately allowing yourself to tap the right data and technology for stronger customer personalization. If your MarTech software and strategy lives in silos, you can’t get the flywheel effect that comes from building and enhancing your customer picture. 

We know that data-driven business isn’t going away any time soon. You need to make your data warehouse the foundation for your successful business and make it the treasure chest that grows in value every day. Keep improving your data sources, keep data out of silos and run your applications as close to the data warehouse as possible. If you take this approach, it will help you keep discovering new ways to get value from your data and better personalize your marketing campaigns.

About the Author

Jason Davis is the CEO and co-founder of Simon Data, the Customer Data Platform (CDP) purpose-built to increase campaign performance through faster, more precise segmentation and personalization. A data scientist-turned-entrepreneur, Davis previously founded Adtuitive, a retail AdTech platform that was acquired by Etsy in 2009. While at Etsy, he led several engineering teams including data science, analytics, and big data infrastructure. Davis holds a Ph.D. in machine learning from the University of Texas and spent time developing search algorithms at Google.

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