Data scientists are hard to find, and good ones are as rare as unicorns chewing on 4-leaf clovers while being ridden by a leprechaun. When one is available, (s)he isn't cheap. Data marketing is the way of the future, there is no doubt about that. But many marketing departments are confused. They believe that the only way to take advantage of big data for marketing is to hire a data scientist.
While that can be an excellent option for businesses that can find one, can afford one, and actually have enough work to keep one busy full time -- it isn't the only option. Here are the questions you should ask to determine if you're ready to add a data science department, and what to do if you want to utilize data analytics for lead generation and other marketing activities, but aren't yet ready to add a data scientist to your staff.
Are You Ready for Large-Scale Changes?
Data analytics has the potential to revolutionize your marketing efforts. The question is, are you ready to change it all? It often means scrapping old processes, procedures, campaigns, etc. entirely and starting all over according to what the data says you should be doing. If your business or department isn't ready to make widespread, wide-scale changes, there isn't any need to bother getting a data scientist.
Are You Ready to Educate and Inform All Your Employees on Your Plans?
Data analytics simply doesn't serve the business well when there is a lack of transparency. You can't keep the why's and how's of your analysis a secret from your workers and still expect them to change what they're doing based on the data. For a data initiative to be successful, all workers need to be fully and candidly informed of what is going on, why, how, and what it means to their daily work.
How Will the Data Scientist Fit Within Your Corporate Culture?
Will the data scientist answer to the CMO? CIO? CTO? Will there be a data science team or just a solo worker? Initiatives that involve hiring a data scientist and sticking him/her in a back room with a computer don't work well. What does work well is a small, carefully chosen team of data scientists who have full access to the data, workers, and processes they need to analyze and suggest changes for. Be sure you know where and how the data scientist will fit in your organization before bringing one on board, because with these skills and talents, they can easily jump ship.
Alternatives to Hiring a Data Scientist
If you aren't yet ready to bring a data scientist on full time, how can you leverage the power and potential of data analytics?
• Begin by integrating your disparate sales and marketing systems (email marketing, CRM, marketing automation systems, etc.). This gives you access to lots more info but doesn't add to the technical and mathematical difficulties of using these systems.
• Consider hiring a consultant. You might simply need some basic analysis with your current data sets to derive the insight and inspiration you need.
• Improve your data collection and cleansing processes. Clean data yields much better information for analysis.
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