Ok Data Matters, But Do I Have Any?

By now, you probably have a decent understanding of why data is important for marketing. After all, you are hearing buzzwords everywhere such as analytics, metrics, and optimization. You have probably also heard that if your company doesn’t start participating in data analytics it will become irrelevant in today’s world. All of this can seem overwhelming, especially if you have not ‘dove into the data’ before.

In my previous post, I mentioned the first part of becoming a data driven marketing department is to start forming a list of common questions asked, and then start determining how you would go about answering these. Now, it is time to start understanding what data is even available to analyze. Chances are, you started indicating some of this while determining how to answer the questions. But now, it’s time to take inventory of all the marketing data that is available to you.

One of two things are going to happen at this point. One, you are going to realize that there is not as much data as you would hope. Relax, this is ok. Today is a perfect day to start determining what sort of data you would like, and how you can obtain it moving forward. This will be a big objective, but is an essential step to becoming a data driven marketing department. Ask yourself, what data should I start collecting, how am I going to get it, and where do I even keep it at?

The second thing that could happen is you are going to have more data then you know what to do with. While this may seem overwhelming in its own right, it is a good problem to have. Trust me, once you get all your data mapped out, it won’t seem as big.

Start understanding what data is available to you today, and what you would like available to you in the future. Bust out that trusty spreadsheet and make notes on what you have. Develop categories, indicate the specifics of the data such as what it is and how much of it you have, make sure your spreadsheet paints a full picture.

Once  you have a good understanding of what data you have today, and what data you want to get in the future, you can start filling the gaps between your data, and your questions.



  1. Good points. At CU*A we drive the ASAP process. Ask, See, Act, and Profit. So pick a data base, or segment of data you want to look at. Then inventory the three drivers of Profit – ask the right questions, see what is possible in the answers, and act with passion, energy, and commitment for profit.

    That is why the AI team is now looking at over 80 dashboards that are built for the ASAP approach, and very soon I hope that you can blog on the numbers of ASK (Question Templates) we all have in our toolboxes to apply to data.

    I look forward to future blogs.

  2. Great read Brandon! Very helpful information.

    One of the hurdles we have encountered at UA is finding ways to collect those valuable bits of data that members share vocally during phone or teller interactions, and capturing them within CU*Base. We all know how large an undertaking data governance is, and for a credit union our size we really have to eat the elephant one bite at a time.

    For us, that means starting by training our front line staff what key data points to listen for, where those can be documented, and how those help us help members. At times we’ve incorporated ‘data point collection of the month’ and team data collection goals as well. We had a lot of success building our “Where Members Bank” data using techniques like that.

    Again great info. I’ll be following your blog for more =)

  3. Great blog post! Your first point is spot on. During a recent project we noticed that we didn’t have the data we were looking for when trying to track new loans and decided we could collect it by using custom data fields. We are continuing to ask ourselves what data we want to get in the future and I think custom fields are one of the great tools that GOLD has to collect this it.

  4. Great post Brandon! We all have so much data at our disposal that it does become very overwhelming at times. knowing how to interpret, and decipher what is really relevant to what you are trying to obtain is always my first step when trying to use the data. For marketing purposes I believe looking at different income indicators and where credit unions can generate the most revenue is crucial to ones data selection. Having an understanding of the dashboards that are available to me in GOLD have really helped me get a grasp on how I can narrow down the data that is available to me and how it can benefit my credit union.

  5. Both of these scenarios have been true of our Marketing department this week! We are in the process of using data to create segments and personas for our members and products. In terms of how many we will have to create in order to find new, similar members or recommend the next best product to our current members, we are are realizing how much data that will involve, from both Gold and demographic and psychographic information. However, while figuring out what information about members we would like to gather in order to recognize similarities, we realized there is a lot of information we wish we had about members that we currently do not have record of. This is a combination of MSRs not filling out some of the optional boxes at account opening and recognizing our need to start using custom fields to track specific information about members and their families. Thinking about what information we would like to have about members allow us to be much more intentional about the data we are collecting because we already know what we would like the use of it to be and are not wasting time or space collecting information we will never utilize.

    Great read!

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