Post by: Anna Brantley, Chief Revenue Officer of AnalyticsIQ

In today’s world, it is easy to get lost with the large amount of information that we find around us – and it is hard to identify which information we can trust. A “data detective” is a person who asks the right questions to ensure the authenticity of the data used in different marketing or analytics strategies. 

When is it relevant to act as a Data Detective? 

There are two things that I am really bad at… lying and keeping secrets. I am not the person you want with you in Vegas – what happens there will inevitably make it into an innocent conversation back home.

I think that partners in your data strategy should have this same ‘problem.’ They should be open, honest, and transparent about how they capture and manipulate data. I am not alone in those thoughts. Some of my industry peers are even advocating that data should come with a “nutrition label” so that marketers can know where the data comes from and its freshness. 

It is important to maintain high standards of ethics in the data business at all times to deliver trustworthy data. 

But until then, marketers need to be data detectives! ‘How is the data captured and manipulated?’ needs to be the first question to ask a potential data partner. But I wouldn’t stop there. Here are some additional questions I believe marketers should be asking us, data folks:

  • What is the common key to the data? Name/address, email, MAID?
  • How do you capture that data?
  • Is it modeled? What is the input data? How is it captured?
  • At what level is the data captured and created? Individual, household, geographic?
  • How is the data validated?
  • How often is the data refreshed?
  • Who does the data provider work with? Are they reputable companies?
  • Can I speak with a reference of yours?

Can you trust the data out there?

I know many providers out there that have a ‘secret recipe.’ It’s true that some things are confidential, but if that confidential data or process can’t be clearly explained, it is better to walk away than find yourself working with data you can’t trust.

If you want to become a data detective yourself, or are interested in talking data, email! I have been lucky enough to find a team of ethical data pros that is as bad at lying and keeping secrets as I am. At Analytics IQ, we ensure our partners know and understand how data is gathered, as transparency is our responsibility.