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DATA HARMONIZATION: MAKING IT WORK FOR YOU

Here’s how to harmonize marketing data and go from siloed to connected, thus saving time and producing better profits.

CPG commerce marketing is awash in data about finance, shipments, POS sales, media performance, shopper card info… the list goes on. The abundance of data points are siloed, overwhelming commerce marketers who spend up to half their time manually collecting, processing and disseminating reports.

In our conversations with both CPG C-suite executives and marketers in the trenches, the issue of disconnected and unstructured data comes up time and again. They believe that data harmonization must become a top priority to empower our industry with insights and enable agility. Marketers must own this problem and lead the charge to address it.

Old ways of planning and reporting in Excel and communicating via email and PowerPoint must be replaced with modern collaborative technology that supports and automates the commerce marketing process. That process must standardize the nomenclature and adopt a commonsystem of record with its own data model that integrates with other data sources, unleashing them and letting them flow.

Creating a system of record is a multi-step process that must be led by marketing alongside its IT partners. It requires a thorough analysis of your current data ecosystem, quantifying the data gaps and process pain points. The next steps involve documenting existing and future process changes, gathering requirements and seeking technology solutions.

The chart within this story presents some of the basics involved in data harmonization. Creating your own charts outlining the processes will be a godsend to your IT liaisons and an eye-opening insight for top management that may not have been in the commerce marketing trenches for awhile.

Keep in mind that your system must include an omni-channel vision, with your sales and marketing teams on board. Your team must also have a

clear understanding of proper investments and returns, based on individual retailers’ capabilities. Candid conversations with retailers on spending must take place. Unfortunately, media performance is not standardized, and not easily connected to financial or sales data. (And there’s increasing pressure to measure marketing results.)

All your pre-work will help you decide what your commerce system of record must do to fill the gaps and automate non-value-added work, which takes a huge amount of time. At this point, it’s important to involve future users of the system to define key functional requirements.

Apart from tracking spend by activity and brand, your system could include other important features such as calendaring, project management, file storage and collaboration features such as smart notifications. Now it’s time to research available technology systems, or learn about building a customized system. You’ll find the time spent in creating a data harmonization system will pay you — and your company — big dividends. n

Liz Mayer (lmayer@tpg-mail.com) is a partner in Omnichannel Commerce at The Partnering Group, Cincinnati. Olga Yurovski (olga@shopperations.com) is CEO of Shopperations, Loveland, Ohio. Both are

 forme

r CPG marketing executives. They offer half-day data harmonization workshops (info.shopperations.com/data-harmonization-workshop) for CPG commerce clients. This story is based on their recent webinar; a recording is available at this link: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/1221876696522777357

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