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The dirty, messy strategic importance of mobile data

April 16, 2012

David Spear

By David Spear

All too often we allow the euphoria of the launch of a campaign to distract us from what lays beneath the campaign – incredibly powerful and meaningful data.

Believe me, having helped many clients strategize and implement mobile marketing campaigns over the last five years, I have found that there is a disproportionate amount of time and money placed on the front end of these programs and significantly fewer resources dedicated to the back-end data analysis.

Agent of change
Case in point, I was at an agency – and I am not agency-bashing, just using it as an example, so stay with me – the other day listening in on the strategic pieces of agency “value-add” and the conversation focused on the typical stuff such as strategy, creative, advertising, content and public relations, but nothing to do with data, especially, mining the data and strategically weaving together a powerful story that demonstrates how the data is moving the business forward.

There was no mention of this and, yet, one of the most important pieces of the equation is the data.

It is perfectly understandable why people get excited about the start of a mobile program/campaign.

The client is excited. You are excited. Your fellow team mates are excited. Hey, mobile is cool. The program has hype, maybe even a little PR, and everyone’s expectations are high.

Then after a few days or weeks, that buzz wears off while the program settles in, and if you are not careful, everyone loses sight of the data that is being produced by the program. Why? Because it is data, which feels eerily close to “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Data is data. It is not strategic. It is difficult to connect the dots. It is dirty and messy. And for some obtuse thinkers, it is a job for lower level associates, right?

Whoa! That is just not right. The data collected is incredibly powerful and, in nearly every customer relationship I have worked, mobile marketing data provides tremendous insights to shift and course-correct business decisions.

So, what to do? Here is one simple tip – take a leadership role, yes, that means roll up your sleeves, and have your team develop a digital dashboard that is highly relevant and demonstrates how the data is actually moving the business.

On the level
Now, if I can indulge you for a second, step back and think about how the dull, boring, dirty and complex data affects relationships on two levels:

1. The relationship between you and your customer/client?
2. The relationship between your client’s brand and their consumers?

On the first level – you and your client – you have a terrific opportunity to make yourself even more valuable in the client’s eyes by providing meaningful analysis. This requires a fair amount of strategic thinking and deep knowledge about your client and the vertical in which they compete, but if you do this right, it will pay big dividends in terms relationship capital.

On the second level – your client’s brand and their consumers – you can help your client more than you realize.

Your insights on the data can help clear a path for better decision-making, i.e. in areas such as marketing spend, mediums and modalities to use, future marketing programming, which translates into a smarter, more agile client.

Be assured, when you are presenting data in this fashion and receiving positive signals from your client, you have allocated the right amount of time and budget on the front and back-end data analysis of your mobile programs.

David Spear is founder of DL Spear & Associates, an Atlanta-based consulting firm focused on strategic business development and mobility. Reach him at

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