Remember just a few years ago, when one of marketers’ biggest problems was the lack of data to influence marketing decisions and contributions to ROI? Fast forward to 2018, and now marketing companies are flooded with so much data, most of them aren’t even sure how to properly manage it all. A recent survey from Forbes even showed that only 13% of marketers consider their businesses “leaders” in leveraging data!

Having a well-thought-out data strategy in place is one of the most important keys to creating marketing success in today’s digital landscape. We sat down with expert data strategy consultant, Donato Diorio, to find out how he created a system of building blocks to overcome common data challenges and pave the way for a successful data strategy.
Donato also hosted a webinar sponsored by Demand Frontier, titled “The Building Blocks of a Successful Data Strategy,” you can watch it on demand here.

Tell us about your background working as a data strategy consultant.

Donato: I started out as a software engineer and earned a solid technical background, which I think is important, because a lot of data management problems come from a technical nature and it’s important to know how the underlying components of data work.

After that, I became a recruiter, which gave me a unique perspective on data because recruiters are deep researchers and go through a lot of data and experience a lot of bad data in the process. That’s why I started my own software company to build sets of data and tools to help recruiters sort through those massive amounts of data. That company was called Broadlook Technologies, and it was the first widely-used internet sourcing technology used by recruiters. We later merged with a tech company called Ringlead to help put all those pieces together for both people who are consuming data, and those who need to fix their data.

Now, I’m the founder and principal data consultant at helping executive teams create a foundational data strategy that leads them to marketing success.

What types of businesses have you generally worked with? Small, large, tech/non-tech?

Donato: I’ve worked with large Fortune 500 companies like IBM and Google, and I’ve worked with mid-market and smaller startups. Data doesn’t play favorites between large or small companies – most data issues are consistent across all different business sizes.

Do you see a pattern of the same data challenges in most businesses?

Donato: Sometimes you can’t truly see something until you’re out of the heart of it, and you can see the bigger picture and progression of it all. You can’t tell much from the data of just a hundred records, but when you look at samples of data from hundreds of customers over a long period of time, you start to see the mass amounts of what I call “ugly data”, which is a mess for companies that don’t have a standardized data system in place.

What are the most common challenges you usually see businesses facing when it comes to data management?

  • “My tools don’t work”: Generally, the tools aren’t the problem. The real question should be, “Did the person using the tool actually choose the right tool for their needs?”
  • “I don’t have the fundamentals down”: Most people aren’t data scientists, so it’s hard to understand their data. If they can break down their data and understand the underlying issues of most data issues, everything else is typically easy!
  • “I have too many duplicates”: That’s not a data challenge – it’s a symptom of a lack of data standards. The root cause of that issue is not having an established plan for your data standards.
  • “My team members aren’t in sync”: Marketing and sales teams are often on different pages with their data needs. This is a foundational problem that can be solved by building a data strategy!

How did you develop your hierarchy of building blocks to solve these challenges?

Donato: It took a long time for me to design, but I created a system that I call the Data Z Pyramid, which can be modified for every company based on their data needs. Basically, it simplifies how companies analyze their business operations and see every aspect of their data management system, making it easier to find where things are going wrong and how to fix those mistakes. I go more in-depth into that during the webinar.

Can you give us a preview of what isdiscussing in Demand Frontier’s data webinar?

This webinar is focused on the concepts of a data strategy – what it is, why you need to have one, and how to design a strategy successfully. It is fast-paced with lots of great takeaways, including:

  • The three core elements of setting up a data strategy
  • How strategic data assessments can help you create a better plan for data management
  • The difference between underlying data issues vs. symptoms of data issues
  • How to assess your data on a human level, not just technical

The webinar is called “The Building Blocks of a Successful Data Strategy”. Understanding how to create a data strategy that will help your business properly manage data will make a huge difference in your marketing efforts. Watch it on demand!