Too Big to Flail: How to Avoid Data Silos

Zuzanna Pasierbinska-Wilson

How many of us identify with this scenario? Your social marketing team is monitoring your brand, a handful of your competitors, and a few product and industry keywords. The goal: use this information to make informed decisions and take action.

But how quickly are you able to get the resulting data to the product management team? Are you able to track long-term feedback? Route to the appropriate team based on product feature or component? Can you identify key company differentiators based on a competitor’s messaging?

Social data can reveal many different things, but according to Brian Solis, Altimeter analyst and author, part of the problem is that we’ve had a business strategy and a social strategy – and more often than not, they haven’t been aligned. Social has been used as a microphone to promote overall strategy, or monitored to combat negative mentions.

This data could help us make better decisions, but it has become relegated to a silo in many organizations. For the information to be relevant, it’s important to integrate social and business data across the entire customer journey.

In a recent webinar, Brian outlined key ways to help ensure that your data is pertinent and actionable, so that you can avoid all of that carefully culled data disappearing into a silo.

1. Question Authority
Tried and true has become irrelevant, and it’s no longer enough to just process the information. You have to be thoughtful so that you can ask the right questions – new, better questions that will allow you to translate your findings into insights.

Insights are key because they become ideas, which will lead to deliberate interactions. Interactions are shared experiences, and create an opportunity to influence the impressions that people have of your brand, which then influences the expressions that they share. Ultimately this chain of events influences the decisions people make, and how they feel about those decisions.

2. Pump up Your Volume
Much of what has been done until now has been focused on talking instead of listening. People are more empowered than ever to go around you to get information, or to share information that others need in order to make decisions or form impressions, which become expressions that define your brand.

In order to be attuned to your audience, you need to be able to hear what people are saying. It’s not enough to have the data anymore – real-time engagement demands that you start to translate information into insights faster than ever before.

3. Engagement Starts at Home
Today, there is a debate about who owns the customer journey. But this debate clouds an unspoken truth: everybody within your organization both owns the brand, and is a reflection of the brand.

If you can become the ringmaster and actively build alliances that bring diverse ideas and perspectives together, you can start to actualize a new type of meaningful customer journey. It’s something that everybody needs to own in order to guide it in a way that’s beneficial to the company as a whole.

4. Know Your Customer’s Customer’s Influencer
Because people have more access to information than ever before, your opportunity to reach them is also greater. The new challenge is that there’s not just one audience to reach – instead there are a series of audiences that each represent new market opportunities.

Along with this challenge is the need to rise to the occasion, to work towards understanding behaviors and trends through your data so that you can get context. You can have fans and friends and followers – but what else are they interested in besides your brand? Context is key to steering the experiences you want people to have and to share in order to define a new, dynamic customer journey.

What’s in Your Toolkit?
In this age of continuous access to information, being both thoughtful about the customer’s experience is essential. It’s not enough to have the data – without insight, no timely action can be taken to prevent a brand from the pitfalls of those who have flailed in data silos before.

Zuzanna Pasierbinska-Wilson

Written by Zuzanna Pasierbinska-Wilson

Zuzanna is VP, Marketing & Communications at DataSift. You can follow her @fattypontoonski.