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Why you should care about data onboarding

  • 3 min read

Data is a double-edged sword. It is the key to unlocking innovation. It has also become one of the biggest obstacles to business transformation and customer experience excellence. This is due to the exponential growth of data where it is siloed, scattered and probably even copied everywhere else. This is data fragmentation taking place and results in the inability to meaningfully provide real value towards businesses and their customers.

According to a Vanson Bourne research, 85 percent of respondents in Australia stored data in two to five public clouds. Among organisations that store data in public clouds, 81 percent reported making an alternate or redundant copy of that data, storing it in either the same public cloud or another public cloud, adding even more data copies to oversee. The research also found that 84 percent of decision makers in Australia believe it is important to solve the challenges of mass data fragmentation.

Evidently, data copies are multiplying, and it spreads across multiple locations. Without an organised connection among pools of data, it is difficult to make educated business decisions which can result in poor customer experiences. And businesses are seeing the importance of data fragmentation but where is a good starting point?

The first step to take is match offline and online data. The virtual and physical worlds exchange numerous zettabytes of data and the amount is growing every day. The key is connecting these two worlds and making sense of the end product. Data onboarding, the process of anonymising, matching and distributing data is helps to achieve this goal. It connects what you know offline to what you do online.

Data onboarding is crucial in the field of data-driven marketing but marketers still do not know enough about. Here are three reasons why you should care more about data onboarding:

1 – Offline customer data should not be a forgotten footnote

With the advent of e-commerce platforms and more and more physical stores digitising online, offline platforms are looking more like an afterthought. However, Australian consumers largely still prefer to shop offline. According to Rakuten’s APAC e-commerce report, one fifth of Australian shoppers prefer to shop exclusively in-store, the most of any country in Asia Pacific, while only two percent shop exclusively online.

Your offline customer data may well represent more than half of everything your customer does and interacts with. An ‘online customer journey’ is just a fraction of the customer experience, but if you cannot see it, you cannot act on it.

2 – Attribution models are half-blind without offline data

To connect offline and online data, the smartest marketers have started building attribution models to find out which media and creatives work. The trouble is, without the ability to include offline data in these models, you end up making broad decisions based on a myopic view.

If you cannot tell whether the conversion came from a TV placement or online banner ad, how can you know how which media worked best? More importantly, how can you allocate your budget when you do not actually know where the conversions came from?

3 – A lack of data portability equals a lack of operational agility

Big data is cumbersome to manage, difficult to prepare, and downright challenging to analyse, but the fractured mess of customer data silos that most organisations deal with hurts in another way – it makes it impossible to try new tools and connect new data sources.

By delivering a connection between online and offline data sources, data onboarding makes it a whole lot easier to use new tech and test new hypotheses – without losing the insight generated. Without it, every new experiment is hampered by a severely limited view of customer data.

Data is indeed a double-edged sword. However, the way you treat and extract value out of data is a way to ensure you full harness the power of data to innovate and take your business to the next level. The gaps you see between online and offline data are often discouraging but the first step you should take is carrying out data onboarding. Only then are you tapping into the massive potential of truly connected customer data to bring about the best customer experiences.  This 15-mins Guide to data onboarding is also a good resource to see how data onboarding works and how marketers are already using it to make a big difference.