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Can Customer Data Governance Create Value for Your Organization?

Customer Data Governance InfoTrust

Do you or key stakeholders in your organization really know how or if your customer data is being collected, stored, and used?

A discussion like the one below has or is likely taking place at your company right now. Let’s listen in as this (hypothetical) team discusses the challenges of privacy legislation and data governance. The team consists of:


ALEX THE MANAGER: “Team, based on my reading and discussions, I’ve noticed that consumers, small businesses, and larger enterprises are thinking a lot about privacy lately. With GDPR in effect, the CCPA coming soon, and fines of up to 4% of annual turnover at risk for violations (not to mention the public relations mess), I’m not at all surprised. 

I know data governance can certainly help companies, but I keep asking myself if it can do more than just help manage compliance risk?”

LIXIA THE DATA SCIENTIST: “I’m happy you brought this up. I’ve been thinking a bit about this as well, but could use some help from the rest of the team. Mind if I ask some questions?”

CHASE THE MARKETER: “Count me in. Fire away!”

ALEX: “Please, do.”

LIXIA: “Alex, just to make sure we are all on the same page, what is your definition of data governance?”

ALEX: “How’s this: Data governance takes one of a company’s most valuable assets (customer data) and delivers business value in multiple areas. We know it drives value in the face of privacy legislation, but I think we all feel it can drive value in other areas, as well. The three of us have also seen how data governance helps companies deliver this value by ensuring accurate, consistent, and regulatory-compliant data collection, management, and use of customer data via standards and practices.”

LIXIA: “Chase, as a marketer, do you agree with this starting definition of data governance?”

CHASE: “Yes, this is a solid start and makes it clear that proper data governance is good for business by helping companies protect themselves from fines and public relation nightmares. But what about Alex’s question on how data governance can drive value in other areas?“

LIXIA: “Let’s explore that. Chase, would it be fair to say that digital marketing based on partial customer data would likely lead to sub-optimal messages communicated to our customers?” 

CHASE: “Yes. Honestly I would not allow that to happen as long as I’m in a marketing role. ‘Not on my shift!,’ you might say. If our customer data is off that badly, we may actually do more harm than good for our company by serving poor marketing communications to potential customers. We simply cannot afford to do that.”

LIXIA: “Would it also be fair to say that this would lead to poor digital marketing ROI?” 

CHASE: “Absolutely! I would never tell Alex that we had positive digital marketing ROI in this scenario. It simply wouldn’t be true (or provable).”

LIXIA: “Okay… what if the opposite were true and you had complete customer data driven by good practices and processes? This should drive optimal digital marketing ROI, correct?” 

CHASE: “Maybe. Is there such a thing as complete customer data driven by good practices and processes, though? I would call this scenario ‘eternally optimistic,’ as it seems too good to be true.”

LIXIA: “With proper data governance, I believe it could be true. Let’s keep going, though. Alex, would it be fair to say the same thoughts that apply to marketing about complete customer data also apply to customer insights? Specifically, the more and higher-quality customer data we have, the better our customer insights will be, right? Therefore, these insights would lead to better customer experiences?”

ALEX: “Yes, but wait. What if we have holes in our practices and processes that lead to a loss of valuable customer data?”  

LIXIA: “Good question. Off the top of my head, some examples of customer data leakage could show up in the form of simple things like 1.) not knowing where all of our customer data sits, so it goes wasted, or more difficult areas to discover like 2.) the sub-optimal implementation of analytics on our sites, meaning we miss out in collecting valuable data.”

CHASE: “So, what should we do? It seems like we really need strong data governance to drive digital marketing ROI and better customer experiences.”

LIXIA: I agree! But before we get to the next steps… it seems we have a revised definition of data governance. This is what I wrote down…”

Data governance takes one of a company’s most valuable assets (customer data) and delivers business value in three areas:

  1. Properly preparing for ever-rising policies and regulations

  2. Protecting marketing ROI

  3. Improving customer experiences

Data governance does this by helping companies ensure accurate, consistent and regulatory compliant data collection, management, and use of customer data via standards and practices. 

LIXIA: “What do you think?”

CHASE: “That’s it!”

ALEX: “Excellent! Thank you for helping me think through this.”



Key Takeaways From This Scene:

  • Customer data privacy is everyone’s business. 
  • Data governance is more than just being prepared for GDPR, the CCPA, and privacy laws to come. It’s good for business.
  • Proper data governance requires a structured approach no matter where you are in your governance journey.




Proper Data Governance Requires a Structured Approach

As we have learned from the above discussion, data governance is good for business in more ways than one. At InfoTrust, we meet you where you are in your data governance journey and help you move up the ladder from “Not on my shift!,” past “eternally optimistic,” and reaching “being in constant control.”

Our team uses a three-pronged model and set of tools and processes to help our clients get to the “being in control” stage. The model includes

  • Getting to know your customer data;
  • Bringing your customer data under control;
  • And ongoing data management to bring and keep proper data governance to life.

It all starts with a conversation, followed by a simple audit. Please feel free to reach out to us today.

If your office is located in or near Chicago, New York, or Cincinnati, please also join InfoTrust for one of our upcoming half-day Data Governance Workshops, where your organization can gain the insights and information needed to tackle privacy regulations coming your way. 

Contact InfoTrust Today

Reach out with your organization's data governance questions.
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