Stop hoarding data!

When working with my clients on data conversions, I always point out that they should convert as little data as possible, since that is easier and typically less expensive.

I also tell my clients to never collect any data they’re not going to use. These days it’s too easy (and cheap) to ask for and collect all kinds of data. But the reality is, we rarely use the data we collect.

Here’s an interesting article from Knowledge@Wharton about managing data. I especially like this:

The problem with the data hoarding approach is that companies can’t use most of the information they keep, adds Fader. Meanwhile, they become data pack rats, chasing an illusory dream of one-to-one marketing, which he says “is a myth. The best thing to do is aggregate information so companies can predict something like, ‘Among all people who bought five times or more, how many times are they likely to buy in the next year?'”

It’s easy to collect data. It’s much more difficult to put that data to good use. You should always be asking yourself: “How are we going to use this data?”

About Wes Trochlil

For a quarter century, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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