INBOX INSIGHTS, September 7, 2022: Taking Care of Data, Natural Disasters

INBOX INSIGHTS: Taking Care of Data, Natural Disasters (9/7) :: View in browser

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Why You Need to Take Care of Your Data

Imagine your data is water.

Imagine your tech stack are the pipes in your house.

Imaging your marketing and sales funnel are the connection points of the plumbing.

Image your reporting are the faucets and appliances that you use and rely on.

Now, imagine that you have a leaky pipe somewhere but you don’t know it. This leaky pipe connects to your shower, your washing machine, and your kitchen sink.

The leak in this pipe is from a small crack. This crack could be fine for a while but because you don’t know it’s there, it stays broken for a few months. A few months go by and you still don’t know about the crack, but you start to notice that your water pressure isn’t as strong as it used to be. You also notice that your water isn’t draining as quickly as it should. Probably a clogged drain. But don’t worry, it’s not totally stopped up, you can still use it.

A few more months go by and you happen to be putting something in the basement. You notice a wet spot on the floor that seems to be coming from the second half of your unfinished basement – you know, where all the pipes are. You open the door to the side of the basement that you lovingly dubbed “the murder room” because it’s dark and dank and generally unpleasant. You hear a dripping sound. But because it’s dark, the light switch is across the room, and you didn’t bring your phone, which has a light, you back out and close the door. You go back upstairs to grab your phone, which has a flashlight, and are immediately distracted by your group text chat. You forget about the dripping noise.

A few weeks and it occurs to you that you have very little water pressure and, weren’t you going to do something in the basement? You suddenly remember that you saw a wet spot and heard dripping, and oh-by-the-way, the drainage is still really slow. Concerningly slow. This time, you happen to have your phone in your pocket so you pull it out and open the door to the “murder room”. You click on the flashlight and see that, yes, indeed, you did hear a dripping noise a few weeks ago. Not only did you hear a dripping but now you can see the source of the wet spot on the other side of the wall. The pipe that was a small crack a few months ago is now significantly cracked and will need to be replaced. You’ll also need to address the moldy smell that has started to infiltrate your nose.

As you open the Chrome app on your phone to look for plumbers, you also remember that the drain has all but stopped draining. You’re mentally kicking yourself for not addressing these things sooner. And you should be. You get a hold of a plumber who can come out to take a look at your leaking pipe and slow drain. However, you forgot that today is Sunday so the prices are nearly doubled. The plumber says that he can either come today or next Thursday, it’s up to you. You decide to bite the bullet and pay extra to have him come today to stop the leak and clear the drain.

Now, raise your hand if you or someone you know has experienced this. You can’t see it, but I’m raising my hand too.

Next, I want you to re-read that story but replace any mention of water with data. The point I’m (hopefully) making is that the things you rely on need to be taken care of. Not just when they are most broken but before they get a chance to break. Before you spring a leak in your data collection process, or your data gets clogged in your funnel you should have a plan for keeping your data flowing. You could have saved yourself a lot of headaches, money, and time if you’d signed up for the general maintenance plan and addressed these issues sooner.

Data and plumbing

Chris put this visual together that helps illustrate all the potential touch points where your data can break. Your data is like water. It flows and flows and keeps flowing, even if you have broken connection points. When your marketing funnel is broken, the data leaks and often cannot be retrieved. If you have broken connection points and data that is leaking or not flowing at all, your reporting won’t be accurate and you cannot make decisions.

I get it, it’s easy to ignore issues that aren’t emergencies. It’s also hard to think about issues you can’t see. If your basement isn’t filled with water you’re probably not thinking about calling a plumber. If you still have some reporting to work with, your data can’t be that bad. Right? Well, no. Bad data and leaking pipes should be addressed sooner rather than later before you’re ankle-deep in septic water.

This is what Trust Insights does. We’re your plumbers. Instead of crawling around under your house with spiders or navigating pools of water in your basement, we’ll get into the configuration of your systems and make sure your systems are talking.

My goal with this story was not only to help show what we do but also to help you understand why you need to take care of your data. It’s the foundation of your business. It’s the way you make decisions. You cannot live without water, treat your data the same way.

Ok, that was a little dramatic but you get the point.

How do you take care of your data?

Come tell me about it in our free Slack group, Analytics for Marketers »

– Katie Robbert, CEO

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Binge Watch and Listen

In this episode, Katie and Chris tackle a question from a recent conference. An agency CEO asked whether or not a leader needed ego to be successful, particularly when they observed their competitors being bold and brash and also being more successful. Dig into our answers and find out whether ego is a help or a hindrance to your business success.

Watch/listen to this episode of In-Ear Insights here »

Last week on So What? The Marketing Analytics and Insights Live show, we took a tour through Discord to help marketers familiarize themselves with the software. Catch the replay here »

This Thursday at 1 PM Eastern, we’re going to take a look at how to use network graphs as part of conference and event marketing. Are you following our YouTube channel? If not, click/tap here to follow us!

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Data Diaries: Interesting Data We Found

In this week’s Data Diaries, let’s talk about disaster preparedness and business continuity. It’s tough to keep the trains running every day and still be cognizant of the big picture risks. Some of the biggest picture risks are natural disasters; in the USA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration keeps a catalog of major natural disasters. Every quarter, they release new data about the most expensive disasters, those that cost over $1 billion in damages, adjusted for inflation. Let’s see what the data has to say:

Number of natural disasters

The number of billion-dollar plus natural disasters has been on a steady increase throughout the 21st century, at a much more rapid pace than the previous 20 years. It’s important to note that these figures are inflation-adjusted to make them apples-to-apples; otherwise, a disaster from 1980 would naturally have a lower dollar value than a disaster in 2020.

Let’s also pause to take inventory of what NOAA considers a natural disaster:

  • Drought
  • Wildfires
  • Flooding
  • Winter storms
  • Freezes
  • Severe storms (such as tornadoes and derechos)
  • Tropical cyclones and hurricanes

Next, let’s take a look at the overall costs:

Cost of natural disasters

As with the number of disasters, the costs have been on a steady rise as well. The big spikes are massive hurricane events like Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in 2017.

So what does this information have to do with marketing? At a macro level, any natural disaster has depressive effects on the economy, particularly within regions. If your products and services sell regionally at different rates, a natural disaster could knock out one of your markets quickly, with the effects lasting for months if not years.

For example, the population of the metro New Orleans area was dramatically and permanently affected by Hurricane Katrina:

New Orleans population

If you marketed to that region after 2005, your marketing and sales would be permanently diminished because there are simply fewer people there.

Additionally, any kind of severe crisis disrupts marketing operations (as it should). There’s no point in running “business as usual” campaigns when your audience’s attention is consumed by more important matters like a Category 4 storm coming ashore or a wildfire destroying an entire region. The more you can segment your audience regionally, the easier it will be to continue marketing operations in unaffected areas while suspending operations in disaster zones.

The reality is that natural disasters are getting both more expensive and more frequent. Your business and marketing plans should have multiple scenarios in place to deal with market disruptions, as well as business continuity plans for your own physical locations. Even for a virtual company like Trust Insights, we still have to think about issues like power, Internet access, and the physical locations of our homes – and what disasters we’re vulnerable to. We still have to think about backing up our computers and which cloud services will host those backups to make sure business could continue in the face of a severe, long-term adverse event.

Take the time today to review all your natural disaster business and marketing continuity plans.

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Where can you find Trust Insights face-to-face?

  • Content Marketing World, September 2022, Cleveland, OH, USA
  • MarketingProfs Friday Forum, September 2022, Online
  • MarketingProfs B2B Forum, October 2022, Boston, MA, USA
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