Today's column is written by Marc Kiven, Founder and CRO BrightTag.
Fall is upon us. It’s that time of year when experienced gardeners are preparing their plants for winter. It’s what you do now that predicts the quality of your garden next season.
What does gardening have to do with data management? Well, it seems everyone is looking for the digital equivalent of Miracle Grow, and just as with your outdoor garden, ignoring the basics and looking for quick fixes in your data strategy can have ramifications for years to come.
If data is the soil that supports and nourishes the digital media ecosystem, then you have to make sure your soil can nurture what you’ve planted in it. For some gardeners, this means breaking up hard and rocky soil that’s never been used to give trusted partners access to data. For most, however, it means rehabilitating soil that has been over-farmed, rooting out the weeds of data misuse, and building a solid foundation for partnerships that deliver real value.
To be sure, getting the right soil can be hard work. Collecting accurate, comprehensive data requires in-depth knowledge of both business rules and website code. The time and expense involved in doing it properly is why site owners recoil at the thought of adding yet more tracking tags. Quick-fix solutions have made matters worse – they deplete the soil by fragmenting the value of a site’s data, bogging down the user experience with added latency, and making privacy policies almost impossible to enforce.
Savvy data gardeners are taking a different tack - righting their soil by taking full ownership of data collection on their sites to build a firm foundation on which all of their data initiatives can take root.
Using the right data management methods is akin to using the best fertilizer for your data garden. It provides your data with ultimate liquidity by making it possible to more readily connect with partners that you decide can provide your garden value. It makes your data portable by eliminating lock-in to proprietary data collection methodologies. And, most importantly, it eliminates the proliferation of tracking tags that place your site at risk for privacy exploits.
Just as you wouldn’t expect a sprinkler alone to manage your garden, you have to pick the right tools for the job of managing your data. So, as you begin to add one of the many new platforms into the mix, be sure you’re setting the stage for your data garden to flourish.