[Changing the most frequently asked question from "Where is the data" to "What should we do next”]
“Digital transformation” in companies is a concept that has been consistently explored and, due to the ongoing pandemic, has become a key factor in future-proofing companies in this day and age. The concept does not just include the usage of new tools or adopting new organisational structures: it also calls for teams to shift towards data-driven decision making.
Specifically for digital marketing, this mindset shift is aided by the continuous advancement of the marketing technology (MarTech) landscape, which has given marketers access to an ever-increasing amount of data to drive insights and optimisation. Unfortunately, this “data overload” has also begun to cripple teams, with marketers spending a larger portion of their bandwidth consolidating data and reporting performance as opposed to navigating data and uncovering data-driven insights.
To this, I would like to propose the following assessment:
“Identify the most frequently asked question by teammates regarding data”.
The answer will serve as a benchmark to understand how equipped the team is to handle the influx of data and determine what kind of assistance (from a supporting data team other otherwise) is required.
“Where is the data?”
This denotes that the team’s data infrastructure is still premature, and much work is needed to be done. Another sign would be that marketers are constantly scrambling to consolidate data from different MarTech platforms.
Teams would need to look into implementing processes (naming conventions) and tools (MarTech data aggregators) to help consolidate and automate data. Do note that there is no need to strive for perfection, as the volatility of the requirement changes and evolution of business needs will render this idea nearly impossible.
A good benchmark would be to have an architecture that is able to cater to approximately 80% of the team's needs (with priority given to routine tasks), with 20% left to ad-hoc data extraction.
“Why is data shown as such?”
Once the data is available for usage, marketers will begin to utilise less time to craft reports.
However, they will begin to question the accuracy of the data and the underlying logics and assumptions used. Without any control of the data extraction process, marketers might feel uneasy on how data is processed, resulting in them questioning the validity of the data prior to using the data for any analysis.
At this stage, data teams would need to support marketers by focusing on more debugging-oriented tasks to refine the data aggregation process, and help marketers build trust in the accuracy of the data. Educational materials can be created to not only to (at a high-level) explain the data aggregation process to marketers, but also serve as a platform for both teams to discuss improvements.
“(Based on the data) What should we do next?”
If marketers are asking this most frequently, it is a positive sign implying that the team is currently comfortable making data-driven decisions. With marketers harbouring trust in the accuracy of the data, they are able to more confidently analyse it and propose ideas and insights derived from the data. Data teams can also collaborate with marketers to delve into more advanced analytics, such as experimentations and data modelling.
Granted, the assessment might over-generalise the situation that teams might be currently, facing.
At Gojek, marketers are always exploring new ways to execute on staple platforms while concurrently exploring new ones to better reach our consumers, resulting in a varied mix of the above questions at any given time. Moreover, digital marketing platforms are constantly advancing and in turn, data from these platforms are constantly changing. This results in marketers experiencing a dynamic cycle of data unavailability before newer data can be ingested for deeper analysis.
Nevertheless, this assessment can then be used to showcase, on a more detailed level, concrete next steps on what needs to be done. By identifying the different milestones required, data teams will then be able to assist appropriately to ensure an environment that will enable marketers to capitalise on the use of data, and drive high quality and actionable insights.