Lauren Tucker, CEO, Cooler Heads Intelligence, says:

Recently, I had a friend call me with a project. He’s what I like to call a “Bring-Your-Lunchbox-to-Work” or BYLW marketer. He wears a lot of hats and tends to find himself running around like his head’s on fire. He asked us to mine his customer loyalty data because, he said, “We really don’t know what to do with it.”

My friend’s hot headed approach to data analytics reveals a major barrier to unleashing the value of data and advanced analytics: the lack of a data strategy tied to marketing plans and business objectives.


The ols and technology of data collection are becoming increasingly affordable, but these resources can be an expensive proposition if you don’t know what advanced analytics involves, how to think about it, or what type of marketing problems can be successfully addressed with these tools.

According to The CMO Survey , more 50 percent of marketers, who despite all the data hype, say they still don’t know what to do with the data they collect. So it’s no surprise that so little of it, one recent report by IDC estimates only 0.5 percent, gets analyzed at all.

At every marketing conference you hear wonderful tales of how leading-edge companies use the predictive power of advanced analytics to deliver actionable insights, develop successful strategies, and gain competitive advantage. What we don’t hear are the details of the discipline and organizational commitment it takes to deploy the advanced analytics that drive these successes.

data strategy

Despite the lack of understanding of how to use data analytics to improve business, The CMO Survey indicates that half of the marketers surveyed intend to increase their spending on analytics from 6.4 to 11.7 percent of their budgets by 2018.

Much of this money will be relegated to optimizing marketing tactics and reporting on what is and what was. The Cool-Headed marketer knows a well-defined data strategy tied to business goals can elevate a company’s use of data and advanced analytics to address strategic marketing challenges and uncover what can be.

Here are five Cool-headed steps you can take to develop a data strategy that will help your company successfully apply advanced analytics to driving consumer demand and improving business results.

  1. Identify a data champion. You’ve got enough data cheerleaders who stand on the sidelines and hope you win. You need a champion that gets in the game to help you win. It isn’t necessary for your data champion to be a data scientist, but he or she should be knowledgeable and enthusiastic enough to lead the development of the data strategy and navigate the tools, talent and technology needed to help your company win and evolve as the organization matures.
  2. Start with a business Dig-in. This is a no brainer, but in a world that’s always in motion, even the CEO has a tough time separating the myths of yesterday from the realities of today. Once a year, your team needs to conduct a thorough business Dig-in to uncover the core challenges and key opportunities of the business. We have a Dig-in workbook we use to help our clients get started. This process should get everyone on the same page and consolidate the collective wisdom of the company.
  3. Craft a learning agenda. The collective wisdom of the company can take you only so far. The Dig-in process should generate essential questions that drive the data strategy and subsequent analyses.
  4. Initiate a data discovery. Once the learning agenda is developed, it’s a good bet that you’ve already collected data that will answer a many of the essential questions. By mining this data with purpose, you can begin to align the analysis with the marketing and business challenges and realize the true value of your company’s data through advanced analytics.
  5. Develop and deploy the data strategy. The data strategy should begin organizing the available data around the essential questions of the organization. Data gaps, uncovered during the data discovery, can be addressed by identifying potential third party data sources that will enhance and unleash the value of the you’re collecting. The data strategy should also outline the resources you need, and more importantly those you don’t, to address the types of marketing problems that have been successfully tackled by advanced analytics.

By taking these steps, the Cool-headed marketer will prevail in unlocking the value of existing data, making more efficient and effective business intelligence investments and improving business results.