Just about every data problem boils down to at least one of these little monsters, shown in this video about the six causes of bad marketing data. Video excerpt from Drowning in Data, But Thirsty for Insight? co-presented with Melissa Mines of Bulldog Solutions at the Connect to Convert 2017 Conference (when we were still known as 360Partners).


So, considering this we really need to get into the causes of bad data. There are a lot of ways we could approach the subject and I think really understand it at a categorical level because each of these will have special to-dos. So, let’s look at this from the top level, and I have a few examples that I’ll roll through here.

The first one, I think, is competing systems of record, and a couple people already validated this one, and this can be a lot of different places where the data is, and they may be separate channels doing separate things, but it’s also times where a business grew, and they started looking at their data and Google Analytics and then someone else decided to throw some Adobe products in there, and now they have two different ways.

Maybe they were looking at it in AAC or GA, but these two different people are worth looking at data in different ways because they attract different ways in each of those systems, and whenever they have to come together to make decisions, it can get very challenging because who’s right and how do you decide what. So, this one can be a real time-consuming challenge.

An addiction to vanity data: so, how many people here really stress out about impressions or clicks? Right, okay. So, there is—this is a little bit of the legacy world of eyeballs in advertising. This is where people worry about things like how many impressions we’re getting or traffic. This is a data challenge that can cost money, I’ll show an example of that in a little bit, and a lot of time because you end up explaining what metrics matter to people and trying to get them into those conversations versus other ones.

Another is no clear owner. This is the gatekeeper world. So, we’ve definitely had situations where we take on a new client, and we ask them for access to Google Analytics, and they don’t know who can grant it to us, and then once we get into the account, we realize there’s maybe five or six people who have high levels of access and can create goals or change things. Some people are making notes. Some people aren’t making notes. The things that they’re noting aren’t always relevant or interesting or notable, but they’re all in there, and then there’s this big mess with different filters, and no one person understands what’s happening in there. So, if there’s no clear owner of your data, you’re going to have siloed experiences that you’re talking about because there’s no one who’s sort of the pivot point, and that can cause a lot of challenges.

A lack of understanding of how system works. Now, this one may not be that the people here in this room should be accountable for at the granular level, but I do recommend you understand enough about your systems to ask the right questions because each of the systems that we’re going to attach to our marketing processes will report things in different ways. Some of them will de-dupe in different ways. Some of them will have a shorter or longer cookie duration. Some of them understand cross-device differently. Some of them will label their revenue—it will be cost or spend, and if you pull it into a spreadsheet the wrong way, you’ll see things incorrectly, and you will also not understand what could break a system.

One quick example is: imagine your really friendly programmer thinks that your confirmation page doesn’t sound friendly enough. So, they turn it into a thank you, mycompanyname.com/thank you because that’s friendlier than confirmation, right? Then all of a sudden your Bing tracking is gone because it measures off of your URL. No one knows that. They may say, “Yeah, that is friendlier. Thanks.” and then 24 hours later someone’s freaking out because all their Bing conversions have disappeared and what happened? Well, we just got friendlier. That’s all that happened.

So, having a non-data-driven culture. We’re going to talk a lot about this one because it’s really important to have your data enculturated. You want people talking about your numbers, and all the relevant people. You know, not everyone should care about your numbers in the company, but all the people that are touching the data, all the people that are making decisions based on the data, all the people that are trying to make you more money should understand the data the same way because then they’ll understand where to put money and how much money they’re going to get out of it, and they can plan accordingly. They can grow. They can expand. They can do all the wonderful things that you can do when money comes in and the money comes out in the right ratios. Yes?

Lastly, just the summary. If it’s just when you have straight-up bad data, things not being tagged properly, a misunderstanding about what a conversion is, someone tracking a conversion based on a lead that comes in on Google and then someone else thinks that it needs to measure at the qualified and then on. So, how are those two people going to have a conversation together about numbers? It’s impossible. So, it’s really important.