Guest Blogger Jason Harris Talks Data Management + How It Helps Grow Business!
If you have a business that uses social media, online advertising, and/or social media, you should read this piece by Jason Harris of Panoply.io about Data Management and how it can be used to help you manage the data you have and more importantly, how to use it to increase your sales!
Why This Free-Spirited Startup Got Serious About Data
It’s hard not to smile when you visit Shinesty.com. The site sells cheeky, upbeat products like onesies and drinking accessories. Their marketing is bold and fresh, and it’s not abnormal to see the f-bomb written in the content of their site. Shinesty thrives on being silly over serious and their sales prove that the approach works.
While this free-spirited retail startup seems to be totally powered by fun, behind the scenes they have been making serious moves. The e-commerce world is saturated. It’s not easy to stand out and make an impression to customers. Shinesty has managed to make a major impression, and they’re not slowing down. They’re pushing the digital marketing envelope further into technical territory. Their new strategy revolves around data management and analytics.
Learning to Dominate with Data
Data is king today in the rapidly evolving world of businesses. Large corporations are devoting billions of dollars to building out their data and insights departments, knowing that harnessing data means holding the key to massive growth. Shinesty recently shifted their marketing focus to one word: data. With a lean and agile staff of 30, the company has a large amount of online data stored from their customers.
To get a firm grasp around their data, they brought on Bob Vermeulen, Shinesty’s Director of CRM. With a background in business intelligence, Vermeulen has transformed Shinesty’s data management and data strategy. His background is in Big Data and marketing analytics, so he has the right history and instincts to bring the company to the cutting edge of data intelligence. Vermeulen has been at the company for only a short time and has already made some major changes at Shinesty.
When he joined the team, Vermeulen’s assessment of Shinesty’s data solution was that it was inflexible. Any customizations needed could take days spent in a development queue. With the speed of business these days, he knew that a new data stack needed to be put into place. He set out to find the right tools for the job while staying within a startup budget. He piloted a few solutions, but ultimately chose the data warehousing tool Panoply, supplemental ingestion tool Fivetran, and Looker for data visualization.
The first pillar in the new data stack was the most pivotal choice. Panoply had a vast amount of connectors which allowed for cohesive connections of all data sources. Panoply was also extremely simple and intuitive to implement. For a startup with very few resources, this was a game-changing move.
How They Use Data
Shinesty has a relatively small product line, but they still have many data sources. From web analytics to social media metrics, they needed a warehouse to store their crucial customer information. Now their data warehouse holds data from Shopify, Facebook, AdWords, and several more, with the list growing rapidly as Shinesty extends their reach.
To be able to add new data sources quickly and immediately find a place for that information in their data warehouse is a major achievement. Many enterprise data warehouse tools are highly complex and require a full time DBA (database administrator) to manage them.
With Shinesty’s data stack, no DBA or data scientist is needed on staff. In effect, the company saves money on both the cost of a heavy-hitting data warehouse and a full-time data staffer. For a small company, these efficiencies dramatically improve the bottom line.
Why Data Management Matters
The marketing teams are the biggest beneficiaries of Panoply and the new data stack. Before the company updated their data management systems, their marketers were caught in a trap of copy/paste. Needing to meld metrics from multiple sources, they took data from Google Analytics, Facebook, and their other sources and pasted them into a spreadsheet. The manual data management was not sustainable for anyone.
Now the data they were manually wrangling before is in one convenient place. With Vermeulen’s help, they are beginning to forge interactive dashboards that not only combine their key data but showcase it in compelling visualizations.
Shinesty’s team members can now be a vital part of data conversations, as insights are readily available. This democratization of data will certainly empower big ideas across the company.
How They Use Data Strategically
For a seemingly small retailer, Shinesty has very sophisticated strategies. With their new data stack in place, their information is flowing cohesively into a data warehouse and prepared for analysis. The type of data that Shinesty is piping through their data stack includes web traffic data, online ad data, email marketing information, and product inventory. With this data, they are able to leverage the holy grail of marketing: personalization and segmentation. Targeted messaging to each customer segment almost always leads to impressive conversion rates.
Their Future: Bold Moves
There’s no question whether Shinesty will continue to grow boldly. They’re eyeing some impressive strategies like defining clear customer segments and marketing to them with personalization. With Panoply, the ability to identify those segments is now possible. They also aim to leverage predictive analytics to understand what their customers want before they even know it.
Shinesty’s success story is hardly over, but one key piece of their latest wins is their logical approach to data management. Often the best tactic as a startup is to keenly understand boundaries and stay within them. Vermeulen knew he had budget and resource constraints at Shinesty. When selecting data management tools, he gravitated toward solutions that are – above all- easy to implement and use.
Biography for Jason Harris:
Jason Harris is Panoply’s Evangelist and works to serve the data community within Panoply. He’s a former DBA, report developer and code monkey; and now manages Panoply’s social media and events strategy. If you haven’t seen Harris in person yet, it’s likely, you will soon.
Thank you to Jason Harris for explaining how data can be used and the different products that can be successfully and easily integrated to make marketing easier and provide more useful analytics to chart the course of businesses!
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