Digital Strategy

Implementing a Master Data Management Strategy

By prioritizing master data management, your team can uncover more valuable insights from the information you already own. 

Data: some pronounce it "dat-ta," others say "day-ta.” Either way, the modern marketer just can’t function without these tiny pieces of virtual storage.

Each micro-sized piece of data contains more information than the eye could ever see — all of which can supercharge the digital customer journey through AI-driven analytics and predictive intelligence. While that may sound pretty futuristic, you won’t need to be one of the Jetsons to make the most out of your customer data — just a little bit of strategy. 

Turning customer data into a competitive advantage

Over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every single day, and that number is only expected to keep growing, according to software company Domo. While it's hard to imagine what a quintillion of anything looks like, we can say with some degree of confidence that it’s lot.

Master data management (MDM) is a technology-enabled strategy in which every employee comes together to ensure the uniformity, accuracy and accountability of every piece of information in your data environment. Although you may not be responsible for anywhere near a quintillion, it’s likely that your team comes in contact with thousands of bytes each day.

Like any other three-letter business acronym, the exact definition of an MDM strategy can vary across organizations, depending on the type of data environment you oversee, as well as your plan for using the customer data. However, there are two wide-reaching goals when it comes to best data practices:

Quality: The insights your data generates are only as good as the data itself. Data quality focuses on making sure information is complete, accurate, and up-to-date. 

Redundancy: Data redundancy occurs when the same piece of information exists in multiple systems. While redundant data isn’t necessarily a bad thing, think of this as a sort of “chicken or the egg” situation. If sales edits information that marketing has stored separately, inconsistencies are bound to happen.

So, "bad data" is… bad. That much you already knew. However, with a strong data governance policy in place, not only can you get rid of your bad eggs, but you can start making data work for you and your customers. 

A pair of hands operating a mobile device with assorted icons projecting.

Building your master data management strategy

Given the volume of data your team comes into contact with, even the most experienced marketers can feel overwhelmed when it comes to creating a data management plan. We recommend approaching your MDM initiative with a customer-first focus:

• Define your business problem: Where is bad data impacting the customer journey? Whether it’s related to an internal process or a customer-facing one, it’s important to map out each touchpoint that data influences. 

• Set your key performance indicators: Which metrics will you track to determine if you're making an improvement over time? 

• Enforce data standards: How will you get your team members on board? Communicate that the purpose of your data governance policy is to improve the customer experience — it's not just another “initiative” that leads to an extra administrative burden on their end.

Having an MDM plan in place benefits everyone on your team as well as your customers. And, just in case anyone isn’t on board yet, data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers and six times as likely to retain customers, according to McKinsey & Company. 

Although quality data may not seem as fun as the latest and greatest technology, the business intelligence it will help your team generate is invaluable.


Maintaining a single view

MDM is all about creating a single-source of truth. This is your “master” data source. 

Although your MDM strategy will be organization-wide, it’s especially important when it comes to making the most out of your customer relationship management (CRM) platform. 

At its best, a CRM tool can provide anyone in your entire company with a complete view of an individual customer's journey, generating insights about potential sales opportunities and upcoming engagements, helping you to optimize each business process. 

At its worst?

The platform can become just another clunky piece of technology taking up space on your harddrive, creating disparate systems. 

When it comes to maintaining your CRM data, your team will need to:

Enter data in real time: Have you ever scribbled a note for yourself, unable to read your own chicken scratch later on in the day? By adding notes to your CRM as soon as they come up, there's less of a chance for important details and critical data to fall through the cracks.

Create formalized conventions: For each data point to be useful for reporting and analytics purposes, you’ll want to make sure everyone is using the same formatting for info such as names, addresses and phone numbers.

Only add complete records: No record at all will benefit your team more than a half-filled field. If your CRM becomes cluttered with incomplete data, it’ll be difficult — if not impossible — to use the system when it comes time to generate insights about your customers. 

The way your company uses enterprise data and interacts with your CRM on a daily basis is an essential component to creating your MDM policies. As you build out your enterprise data management strategy, involve your end users to ensure you have a complete understanding of their needs as well as those of customers.

Two people point at computer screen with overlayed data management icons.

Deploying a master data management solution

Once you have your data governance policies in place and any old or inaccurate data cleaned out, there’s still one more factor for your team to consider: Data decay.

Even with the best MDM program in place, Gartner has found that data decays at a rate of about 3% each month. While that number may not seem significant on its own, in the long run, data decay can be the culprit slowing your processes and leading to a less-than-stellar customer experience. 

An MDM platform can help you to better understand and manage data, while freeing your team to continue finding new opportunities to engage and wow your customer. Just some of the uses an MDM solution include:

Automation: Rather than having your team manually input and interact with your database, some solutions can do the heavy lifting for you, ensuring quality while minimizing the potential human error. 

Auditing: Actively fight against data decay by running monthly automated checks for any quality issues.

Reporting: Learn how your team is using data to find new ways to empower them and your customers.

Although an MDM system can take a significant burden off your team, it's always important to remember that it will only be as useful as the strategy guiding it.


Working with an expert data partner

With the right data on your side, you can start to leverage real-time insights and AI to provide a new degree of personalization and engagement — no flying car or robot maid needed.

At GeekHive, we’re here to help your team make sense of your data environment so you can unlock the power of analytics and machine learning. Schedule a call with us and together we’ll navigate your data to create a next-level customer experience.