When The Economist magazine used their cover to declare the world’s most valuable resource was no longer oil, and was in fact data, they were telling a very important truth – not only for Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and the other big brands featured in the story, but for every business, including yours.
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Data is not only a valuable asset, it’s a powerful one. When you can access and understand your data, you’re positioned to develop a deeper understanding of who your customers are and what they want. Additionally, you can use your data to identify opportunities you should be taking advantage of and mistakes that you should stop making. Data can help business owners make better business decisions in every area of your business. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus on the area we know best: marketing data.
Understanding Your Marketing Data
Every marketing platform can be – and generally is – configured to capture data about the people who engage with your messaging on that platform. This messaging can be organic – this includes the copy on your website and social media posts – as well as paid messaging, which includes Google Ads, Facebook ads, and more.
You may use this data as it is to understand your performance on that specific platform. You may use a dashboard or other data analysis tool to collect all of your data in one place and make meaningful apples-to-apples comparisons regarding effectiveness. Your data is yours to do with as you like – yet many times, business owners find themselves denied access to their own data by marketing agencies, social media management companies, and other third-party service providers who the business owner has engaged in an effort to build their business.
Why does this happen? We can’t answer this question definitively, because we don’t do this – but if we were to speculate, we’d say that third-party service providers often block client access to their own data because they don’t want their clients to see how effective their efforts have – or haven’t – been. Rather than face awkward, potentially uncomfortable questions, they do what they can to keep their clients from asking questions at all.
Taking Back Control: Gaining Access of Your Digital Marketing Data
Rest assured, there is nothing you can do to damage your website or social media marketing simply by accessing and looking at your data. If you’re not sure if you have access or not, ask your third-party provider how you can see your data for yourself. Ideally, this should be a simple matter of logging into the platform with your user name and password – remember that you always want to have this vital log-in information for all of your digital marketing platforms.
If you encounter resistance, remind your third-party provider that a good partner wants to share. Your data is your asset and you have every right to it. If the reluctance continues, ask yourself what you would do in any other business relationship where the third-party provider continues to limit or prevent you from accessing your own assets. If the bank you used didn’t let you check your account balance, would you bank there? We can’t tell you what to do on this front, but we urge you – strongly! – to think about the idea that a third-party service provider who won’t give you access to your own data clearly doesn’t have your best interests in mind.