Datatelling: how to make your data talk

The seven-step method unveiled

During the second edition of #Actito Boostcamp, Actito challenged its participants to think about the theme ‘Datatelling: how to make your data talk’. Let’s have a look at the method.

What does ‘making your data talk’ mean?

Many marketers equate the quantity of data to the quality of their activation. The trend is to collect as much data as possible. Whether that is done through a website, download/participation forms, surveys, etc., collecting data can be done relatively easily. However, the information gathered still needs to be relevant. Often only a small amount of the data collected is actually used.

The challenge for marketers is to identify the useful and usable data in order to send relevant and targeted communication to their audience.  

In other words, to make your data talk, you first need to have a good knowledge of it. To do so, you need to ask yourself the right questions: 

- Where are the data collected? 

- Why are they collected? 

- Who is going to use them? 

- How are they going to be used?  

Note: differentiate between ‘data’, ‘information’ and ‘knowledge’: data are the raw elements that have not yet been processed, interpreted and put in context. Information is interpreted and contextualized data that helps marketers improve their client knowledge.

What does ‘making your data talk’ mean?
Pourquoi faire parler ses données ?

Why make your data talk?

Pourquoi faire parler ses données ?

Data are the beating heart of marketing strategies. If they are reliable and relevant, marketers can use them to: • Refine their client knowledge in order to establish a personalized relationship • Anticipate and predict the needs of clients. In the long term this guarantees the efficiency of marketing actions, their ROI. Data is therefore the key to the global performance of a business.

How to make you data talk

Here is a seven-step method to make your data talk.

1: Define your marketing objectives

Your marketing objectives are directly linked to your business needs. This could be a need to acquire client knowledge, activation/reactivation or retention. And these needs match target profiles:

- Do you want to communicate to your entire base? Or only to keen potential clients? Or to your clients? What channel do you want to use to do so?

Remember that segmentation, targeting and channel appetency are all criteria to gain in efficiency and relevance with your audience.

1: Define your marketing objectives

2: Identify your data sources

Since data can be massively collected within the company, it is important to have a clear idea of their source before using them. By identifying these sources, you will be able to discover a certain amount of types of potentially useable data. There are three main types of data sources:

First party data First party data Background

First party data

First part data are the data you collect directly from your points of sale, your website and at your events. They are often declarative (self-reported directly by the client) and behavioral (navigation on your website, preference center, etc.) and come from users actually interested in your brand.

For example, data about the identity of a client (last name, first name, address, e-mail, phone, date of birth, opt-in), behavioral data (buying behavior: date of visit, date of sale, amount, client advice, preferences, etc.)

Second party data Second party data Background

Second party data

Second party data are the first party data of your partners. They allow you to extend your audience (acquire similar profiles) in a significant and qualified way as well as enrich and complete your first party data. This is why it is important to develop and maintain mutually beneficial partnerships.

Third party data Third party data Background

Third party data

Third party data are data collected outside your ecosystem. They often need to be paid for and their quantity is beneficial. However by definition, these data are never exclusive.

3: Define your data use

Decide which of the data identified will actually be useful. To define the information useful to collect, you need think about how you plan on using the data. Do you need them to:

- Contact your target? (phone number, e-mail address, postal address, etc.)

- Target your communications? (age, country, behavior, segment, etc.)

- Personalize message content? (first name, title, product bought, page view, etc.)

3: Define your data use

4: Qualify your data

You have defined your objectives and identified relevant data. The next step is analyzing the quality of the data and/or cleaning it up. Is the data you identified as useful available in a sufficient enough quantity and/or qualified in your database? 

There are three types of actions to answer these questions:

- Take stock of your base

- Clean up your database by deleting double or erroneous data

- Qualify your base by launching concrete actions such as qualification forms, welcome campaigns, etc.

4: Qualify your data

5: Structure your data

By organizing your data into tables, you will be able to optimally benefit from marketing activation tools like Actito.

In relational databases datasets are data organized within a table where columns correspond to information categories (phone number, address, etc.) and the lines to records/entries. The tables are linked together by associations that enrich the database and therefore also client knowledge.

For example, a product reference can be linked to corresponding buyers or suppliers. In each column of a table, data must be structured in a precise typology. For each record in the table, there needs to be a unique identifier, a key to get in. (At Actito the ‘Profiles’ key might correspond to a contact’s e-mail address, for instance).

For example: - Profile table (language, country, title, etc.) - Purchase table - Event table - Aggregated table, etc.

5: Structure your data

6: Activate your data

It’s now up to you to make your data talk! To activate data in scenarios, think about it in terms of:

Triggering events: Triggering events: Background

Triggering events:

This is an event that starts up an automatic scenario. For example, this could be a new registration in a certain list (newsletter subscription, new client, new potential client, etc.) or a database update (new preference recorded, bronze client went silver, potential client became a client, etc.)

Actions to be activated: Actions to be activated: Background

Actions to be activated:

Once the recipient meets certain prior defined conditions, you can decide which actions to activate: sending an e-mail/text message campaign, add a contact to a certain audience, send a notification, etc.

Conditions: Conditions: Background


Determine the criteria for which an action will be activated or not. Using conditions you can adapt, adjust and personalize your scenarios as much as possible.

7: Challenge your data

To ensure the relevance of your communications, you need to regularly challenge your data based on two criteria.

The first one aims at analyzing the data you use. 

=> Actito offers business reviews to assess what has been implemented together with your Customer Success Manager  

The second aims to clean up your base regularly and requalify your data in order to update them.

=> For example, using preference center forms, profile update campaigns, etc. 

The idea is simple: don’t rest on your laurels! Start up the process regularly by following the seven-step method from the start.

7: Challenge your data