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Why Marketers Should Care about Data Governance

Ben Douglass, Global Marketing Director of data management automation company ZAP, discussed why he cares about data governance, and why you should too.

Contemporary digital marketing lives and breathes on data. As digital marketers, we focus on collecting data to deliver insight which will fuel future efforts and make them more effective. Retargeting lists, personalisation, behavioural insights  – data is our bread and butter – so why are we so reluctant to take good care of it?

Hands up if you’ve found yourself getting excited about the latest technology but have turned a blind eye to the risk attached to it … surely that’s the remit of IT? A good Data Governance policy has a high impact on the risk management strategy of marketeers – here’s some good reasons why you should give a damn about it:

#1 We base all our decisions on it

Think about how many of your marketing calls are based on data. Campaign optimisation or new campaign ideas are usually based on customer insights, purchasing behaviour, customer feedback and plenty of other data points. Data governance is a form of quality control. It ensures that the data in question is reliable.

With no form of documentation in position outlining the standards surrounding the management of the business data, critical business decisions might be based on incorrect assumptions and unreliable information. A data governance policy will leave you feeling assured that the data is reliable and is safe to be referenced.

#2 It will save you money

We’ve already touched on the fact that campaign optimisation is largely if not entirely based upon the data to which we have access. This same data is also used to help us make budgetary decisions.

Imagine you’re planning a large scale campaign and you are basing your target CPA on variables like Customer Lifetime Value (LTV). This is a sensible call, but what if your LTV is unreliable?

If for example, you’re using data fed into a Marketing BI Dashboard which pulls from both the Sales and Finance Department, but both lack processes and documentation to quality control their data, the integrity of the data is compromised.

#3 It increases efficiencies and encourages collaboration

Don’t get us wrong, we aren’t saying data governance should suddenly become the sole responsibility of the marketing department. Everyone needs to care about it. A huge benefit of coherent and comprehensive data governance policy is accountability. By implementing this company wide, there will be instant transparency about how the data is being used – the good, the bad and the ugly. If the data is being poorly used, that’s fine, this provides an opportunity for collaboration between those who understand the policy and those who don’t.

A data governance policy will set out who is responsible for the availability, usability, integrity and security of the businesses data and will outline the procedures which govern them. When inefficiencies or inaccuracies occur, these are a result of not follow the procedures, or may highlight a flaw. Data Governance therefore, is something of an ever evolving process.

The case for automated data governance

Today, many large scale organisations have their data tied up in disparate systems which require manual management procedures. From spreadsheets and content management systems through to databases and data warehouses – how can you efficiently manage your data to ensure it’s not only compliant, but also so it’s an accessible asset that can support you in making business decisions?

Automated data governance can take away a lot of the dirty work – automating the auditing, activity logging and access control across the business. The alternative, which is happening across many businesses, is a level of manual data governance which is hard to maintain, and potentially costly.

A sound data governance policy and automated data governance delivers that solution, enabling enterprises to be confident that the data they are acting on daily is complete, accurate, and secure.

Oliver

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