WHAT IS A DATA WAREHOUSE AND WHY SHOULD YOU CARE SO MUCH?
All marketers love data. But more accurately, what all marketers love are insights – new points of understanding that have been gleaned from accurate, timely, tidy, well-organized, well-analyzed, well-understood data.
The actual data itself: that can be a lot harder to love. Data can be big and messy and unwieldy. To be informative, it needs consolidation; it needs translation; it needs organization.
That’s where a data warehouse comes in, and why its role is so vital. In one, data is gathered and consolidated. Media data, user data, website data, etc. – it all comes here. The data warehouse is the single source of truth. Without one, you run the risk of pulling data from different places in different ways, causing some information to be duplicated, some to exist under different names, some to be overlooked. With a data warehouse, everyone uses all the same data, which has all been defined, validated, harmonized, unified, normalized, cleaned up, and linked together, in the exact same ways.
- Example 1: When one user goes into an external data tool and pulls data at a certain time, they get certain information. If another user goes looking for the same information, they will get different information by searching at a different time, or by using different parameters, or with a different tool. On the other hand, if they were both to use a well-appointed data warehouse, that central repository would ensure that their information would be time-stamped, show trends, clearly demonstrate its comparability, and provide all users with the same view of the same data.
- Example 2: When (as recently happened) a major analytics provider goes down, days of data can be lost. The missing data can cause blind spots and cause erroneous trend views. A good data warehouse can correct for those gaps, creating views that exclude them, and views that compare with previous months or years, so marketers don’t find themselves flying blind.
- Example 3: When a user inadvertently deletes information from a system, the data warehouse can restore it, providing continuity to guard against the reality of human error.
To get the best value from a data warehouse, it must be thoughtfully designed and governed. Any tool is only as good as the ways in which it’s set up, organized, filed, scaled, and governed. And, in pharma, it’s critical that it must also be properly encrypted to prevent accidental access to PHI and PII.
With third-party cookies disappearing, it’s more important than ever to be able to tag and track information precisely – and to store and access that information safely. Users must be able to get the information they need at the moment they need it, but simultaneously, the system must mitigate privacy concerns about whether the right users have the right levels of access.
The increasing digitization of health, and the increasing focus on privacy, mean that this is more important than ever. With a data warehouse done right, a CCPA request doesn’t require separate databases and spreadsheets: it simply means a quick script can identify, delete, and demonstrate the compliance with the request.
This efficiency with data is possible throughout marketing. Analyses – once colloquially known as 80% collecting data, and 20% providing insights – can now flip that ratio. Data collection and linkage is done, and all that time can be spent on making thoughtful suggestions and predictions about how to optimize your marketing spend.
Using data to make decisions is vital to modern marketing, but the data is only as good as you make it. Multichannel marketing cannot be done with siloed or delayed information. The days of end-of-year presentations and neatly bound quarterly reports are long gone. A good data warehouse transforms data from many sources into instant information – information powering insights that make your campaigns better every day.
Let us help you set up a data warehouse – and make your work life (the data part, anyway) run smoothly.