The 4A’s Data Summit was held in New York last week with a variety of professionals emphasizing on the importance of evolving data to a more micro-level. Rishad Tobaccowalla, Chief Strategist at Publicis, made a point too not let data tell the whole story, as decisions should be made by us with numbers to justify what we did. The Chief Strategist made the statement, “If you make a decision just by numbers, let me assure you, you will not have a job very quickly. You’re saying an excel spreadsheet can do your job better than you can.” Tobaccowalla later pointed to the six P’; Privacy, People, Purpose, Perspective, Pooling, and Partnering. Each P represents the way you should approach and how to handle data. Instead of owning data, it is more important to think of the data that you need and use the six Ps as stepping-stones to the right data.

In this day in age, everyone has access to data. It is not hard to find data based on demographics or geo-fencing, so now it is important to focus on quality of data. Each panel seemed to have always circle back to data quality and having a better understanding of the data underneath. The idea is you want to build granular data up and have a true understanding as well as be asking the right questions. A simple example is instead of asking how to optimize sales, ask how to optimize online sales and how to optimize offline sales because each question has a different answer. Due to certain attributes playing better with certain creatives it makes difference between offline and online sales. Another thing to consider with quality data is not having it tied to cookies but certain people, names, specific demographics, and exact purchases. Even with specific segmentation, there may be a lot of ambiguity or inexactness. That is where you need to be always questioning the data. Think of it like trying to reject your hypothesis. By approaching that way, it will contribute to having accurate data and attributing data with the right identity.

In order to have quality data, one of the keys is collaborating. The point of emphasis was to break down the imaginary vertical soles that are blocking traditional and digital marketing from working together. Moving towards a team-oriented approach can lead to breaking the barriers. Especially with the overwhelming amount of data, collaborating with one another can improve the accuracy of the data and pinpoint segmentations needed within the data. Along with collaborating within your agency, it is also key to have a wide variety of perspectives. It is important for the industry to have 4 to 5 players instead of moving towards a monopoly or “duopoly” as some panelists refer too. The point of reference is to not let the Wall Gardens, the Facebooks and Googles, eliminate the third party data, as it is important to have access to all sorts of data and sources. With that being said, researchers must keep in mind data integrity.

With accumulating data, know that you have quality partners and ensuring you know whom you are doing business. TAG’s President and CEO, Michael Zaneis said, “if you don’t have more transparency through media buys and who your partners are and understand what their practices are, then how can you trust the data that ultimately comes back?” In order to have quality data then it starts with knowing and trusting your partners. With more transparency, you also want to take into account coverage. If data is performing well, but only from a small sample than you will want to widen the scale to prove the data is still significant and performing well. The main red flag that was brought up by Google’s Managing Director of Global Display, Dan Taylor, saying “To me the red flags are the number of companies involved in the data…every step away from the initial source of the truths is another red flag.” When it comes to quality data, you want to see its accuracy and if it is performing. That is why some companies are constantly auditing data to better the accuracy.

Overall, the summit really emphasized on a few key ideas to consider when it comes to data. There is no secret anymore, everyone is using data and everyone is trying to figure out ways to take full advantage of data. The key now will be who is willing to take the next step. As data becomes more advanced, questions will become more detailed and precise and therefore the overall talent will improve drastically.