How to Implement Big Data Principles in Your Campaign or Organization

I’m an Apple guy…iPhones, iPads, iEverything. Every time Apple says something, I’m on the hook to listen. Having said that, I am also a huge fan of Samsung’s “Next Big Thing” marketing campaign; mainly because I think it’s catchy and relevant to this topic because the next big thing – data power for everyone – is here.

The power of data and analytics is no longer reserved to only the best-funded campaigns at the top-of-the-ticket or businesses with gobs of revenue. It shouldn’t be an afterthought or something you do just once. Think about handling data similar to how you put a puzzle together. If you put it together correctly, piece by piece, when you finish, you have the whole picture.

A while back, I wrote a piece about facing your fear of big data. Most campaigns, groups or small businesses will never use “big data” the way Google or Wal-Mart uses it, but that doesn’t mean employing some basic principles aren’t helpful.

Data is Not Just a Product
If we’ve learned anything by integrating analytics into our firm’s solutions, it’s that it takes as much strategy to use correctly as any other component of a campaign, marketing and public relations effort. This week, a top Democratic data provider made the news in Ad Age by adding consulting service in addition to list selling. Matt Taverna of Targetsmart says:

“Data vendors should be really looked at as partners and allies on the campaign rather than just kind of an obscure technology. Data is no longer a new and shiny object. We’re not just fulfilling orders like we’re robots. Campaigns will be increasingly calling on us to help them interpret some of the nuts and bolts of the file.”

A data program is a necessity these days if you want to find the right audience, engage them effectively and develop ways to measure your success. This means including a data management firm as a strategic partner worth being at the table from beginning to end.

Data Exists to be Analyzed
Data lives and breathes to tell us something. Most groups or business have so much internal data they could use. Additionally, the most useful external data necessary to connect the dots are easier to get than they think.

After spending the effort to collect, clean and organize, you can’t stop there. Once you bring everything together and run some simple analytics, your courses of action start taking shape. It’s how you twist and turn those puzzle pieces so you can see how they go together.

Measure to See Success
The other day I had a conversation with a friend about the evolution of targeting in politics. From the early days of creating the microtargeting segments like “NASCAR dads” and “soccer moms” to developing individually scored segments created from modeling, it’s not really a thing if it’s not measured.

Today, you have at your disposal a goldmine of data and you probably don’t realize because you aren’t analyzing or measuring it. Developing those actionable metrics will tell you if your efforts are effective. Tying effort to KPIs will help you gauge ROI and ensure no one stuffed a puzzle piece in the wrong place just to finish a project. The pieces must be in the right place for it all to work.

Reporting is Key
morpheusFew of us can read and understand data as organized in rows and columns. So being an operator on the Nebuchadnezzar is not in your future, but you can still find ways to see the Matrix in other ways.

Visualization is all the rage these days, and we are big fans of it. As a data/communications firm, we believe great storytelling will lead to the right engagement, and data is no different. Data has a story to tell, and it’s one you need to hear in order to make better decisions and gain the proper insights. Our friends at L2 Political say it’s a necessity, and we agree.

Revolutionize Your Efforts
I happen to believe that data and how you use it is the building block to success. It should be a foundational part of everything you do. With it, you have the opportunity to:

  • Better understand and find your audience
  • Optimize activities
  • Decrease inefficiency of your efforts
  • Measure performance of all activities
  • Spend money and resources better
  • Make informed decisions
  • …and so much more

The world is not changing literally overnight, but it is changing at a pace that begs you to keep up. Utilizing data effectively is one of the best ways you can do that. Institute these principles and you will be well ahead of the curve and hanging that completed puzzle in no time.