Improving their data literacy may not be a big priority for marketing, ecommerce, and customer experience professionals today. After all, that’s why there’s a data science team: They can rely on them for any and all complex data needs. (Right?)
But understanding data is a prerequisite to working with that data — and, ultimately, creating a data-driven culture.
As Gartner noted, no growth team (including the above ones) can effectively leverage their first-party data without “the ability to read, write and communicate data in context.”
Every executive wants their company to be ‘data-rich.’ (As they should.) But some don’t realize their primary goals shouldn’t merely be to accumulate big data for the sake of it.
It should be to gather the right customer data, ensure all relevant stakeholders are completely data literate — and invest in a pure-play customer data platform (CDP) so these growth-focused teams can access and activate their data with confidence and utility.
Why customer data literacy is inextricably tied to business growth today
Data literacy is the ability to understand key data related to one’s field and focus and derive actionable insights from it. And each team benefits from data literacy differently:
- Revenue professionals can conduct financial data analyses to evaluate earnings/profits.
- Recruiters can audit staff performance data to enhance candidate identification efforts.
- Human resources can audit employee satisfaction data to improve the company culture.
As it pertains to growth-focused teams, though (i.e., the tech users responsible for direct customer interaction and business-growth acceleration), data literacy is key to transforming customer relationships, unlocking new revenue, and improving operational efficiency.
And it’s on C-suites to ensure these teams understand and know how to leverage data.
Gartner Sr. Director Analyst Valerie Logan stated it is increasingly important for business leaders to ensure their growth-focused teams all understand the language of data:
“The prevalence of data and analytics capabilities, including artificial intelligence, requires creators and consumers to ‘speak data’ as a common language.”
Specifically, Logan said it’s on leaders of data and analytics teams (i.e., CDOs) to build data literacy programs. That way, teams like marketing, ecommerce, and digital experience can more capably communicate data needs to data scientists.
This ongoing data education can also enable less-tech-savvy stakeholders to do things like build data visualizations that help them better comprehend customer behavior and compare segments to identify high-value and -priority audiences.
TL;DR: Change management entails many tasks for C-suites today. One of the more vital tasks is to set their growth teams up for success. And that means ensuring they all have high data literacy — and the right tech tools to utilize their data.
How greater data literacy skills — and better tech — leads to improved ROI
Gartner recently coined the term ‘data dexterity.’ This refers to “an employee’s ability and desire to use existing and emerging technology to drive better business outcomes.”
As noted, execs must be the ones to create data literacy programs. But they still need employee buy-in and involvement to ensure their teams can extract value from their data.
(And, in turn, realize better business outcomes.)
The most likely outcome of this education? A (big) boost to their bottom line:
A 2020 Accenture study found ‘digitally fluent’ companies are 5.4x more likely to realize strong revenue growth through 2023 than non-digitally-fluent organizations.
The best place for C-suites to improve their teams’ digital fluency (and generate greater ROI from their marketing) is to audit the current state of these individuals’ data expertise.
As it pertains to their personnel, executives can best rectify internal data literacy issues by:
- Distinguishing the data ‘experts’ and ‘laggards’: This can be accomplished via internal surveys to each team. The former group can educate the latter one on an ongoing basis. For instance, they can run regular sessions (bi-weekly, monthly) on various data terms and concepts and how they pertain to different tech tools in their stacks.
- Identifying operational silos: There will inevitably be communication and process barriers among teams. Similarly, not every team will work often (or at least seamlessly) with others. Thus, it’s vital to break these silos down and ensure every internal stakeholder can easily connect with one another. Especially regarding data needs.
- Use the common data ‘language’ regularly: As with any form of education, it takes time to master a foreign subject. In the case of data, it’s ideal for business leaders to ensure each growth team uses their unique data ‘language’ regularly. In time, an organization’s data vocabulary will become second nature to data ‘laggards.’
Of course, if the technologies these teams use are disparate, legacy tools — CRM, data lakes, etc. — that lead to data silos and inefficient data utilization (i.e., analysis, segmentation, modeling, activation), greater data literacy won’t do them much good.
What stronger literacy — and a CDP — can do for your company in 2021
A 2019 Experian survey found 70% of business leader think the lack of strong data literacy skills in their organizations negatively impacts the value they extract from data-driven tools.
If you’re a key tech decision-maker, you can’t expect teams like marketing to rely on fragmented customer data and systems — ones that deter agility and flexibility — to deliver timely, relevant messages and experiences or achieve the desired ROI from their strategies.
(Both in terms of revenue growth and operational efficiency.)
As business productivity expert Sally McGhee noted in a guest post for Forbes, C-suites must give their teams proven technologies — and empower them to ‘own’ said solutions:
“To successfully foster a long-term environment of digital fluency and productivity, organizations must encourage employee-level leadership and accountability on digital tool governance.”
Translation? Routinely educate your employees on how to analyze and activate the wealth of customer data at their disposal — and equip them with the right technology.
Then, they’ll be able to employ that data whenever and wherever they need. (And without the need for regular assistance from data science and/or IT colleagues.)
And the CDP is the proven tech that can aid all growth teams. Those with already-strong data literacy as well as those continuing to grow their data savviness.
Consider how two different growth-focused teams — one that has considerable data knowhow and one that is traditionally less tech-savvy — can leverage BlueConic’s CDP:
- Data science can import and run custom notebooks in AI Workbench and gradually train machine learning models over time. The team can send the results of those models to marketing’s activation tools — all of which connect with BlueConic — as needed. What’s more, it can share insights it deems relevant with other growth teams (e.g., outputs of lifetime value and propensity-to-churn models for certain segments).
- Marketing, meanwhile, can also make the most of unified first-party data in our pure-play CDP. For instance, the team can build rich, multi-dimensional segments (thanks to persistent, dynamically updated customer profiles in BlueConic). This can then streamline audience analysis and comparison for marketers. Moreover, it can help them identify high-value segments to target in their customer engagement efforts.
Bottom line: Greater customer data literacy leads to more efficient data and tech utilization, more intricate insights gleaned, and improved business outcomes over time.
And, with increased data literacy, your teams can take advantage of all a CDP like BlueConic has to offer: from orchestrating customer lifecycles to deploying predictive models.
Learn how you can improve your first-party data utilization — from analysis to activation — with our-pure-play CDP. Request a live demo with the BlueConic team today.