These days most of the marketing solutions are provided as a service. These solutions send emails on your behalf, server ads on your site , serve your ads on other sites/networks, collect your web Analytics data, collect your social media data, collect usage of customer on social media platforms, trade your cookies etc. You get the idea.
As a result, most of your marketing data resides with 3rd party vendors and outside your company’s environment. In some case you might have an explicit agreement with the company that allows you to have ownership of your data (e.g. Omniture, ExactTarget etc.) while in other cases you might implicitly assume that you have the ownership of data (e.g. Google Analytics, Facebook etc.). Either way the data resides with someone else. This lack of direct ownership of your data could potentially pose a threat to your data driven culture. I am not saying that all of sudden you will lose all your data (though that is also possible) but there is a potential risk.
In order to ensure that you are in control of the situation, you need to carefully evaluate your “Data Ownership” risks and have a well thought out plan to mitigate the risk. Here are few question you need to ask
- What if the vendor(s) gets bought by one of your competitors?
- What if one of the free tools all of a sudden disables your account because of some violation (perceived or actual) of their policy? (See What I Learned When Facebook Disabled My Account)
- What if the vendor has a data breach?
- What if you want to move to another vendor?
- What will happen to your historical data?
- Will you have access to all you historical data? For how long?
- Will you be able to port your data into your inhouse system?
- Will you be able to port your data into new vendor system?
- What will be the cost of porting your data?