Editor’s note: Mike Miller is vice president at ENGINE Insights. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared under the title, “Using alternative data for holistic audience segmentation.” 

As most marketers and researchers understand, there is a wide array of data to help solve many business objectives. However, understanding what to do with that data and how to best use it is critical. As was discussed in The Power of Alternative Data Sources presentation, leveraging multiple streams of data requires a bit of a mind-set shift. We may think more data is better, but that is not always the case. 

A sound data strategy starts with problem identification: What are we trying to solve for? Next, we need to formulate an activation plan as well as an insight plan. Who and/or what do we need to influence to resolve the business problem? Is that through a marketing campaign, product or messaging optimization or customer experience management, etc.? The insight plan addresses what questions need to be explored to drive activation. Finally, when the plan is in place, we turn our attention to the data solution required to effectively drive business outcomes. What additional data sources can help address the need, if any? 

Designing and implementing the proper data solution can be tricky but does not always need to come as third- or even first-party data sources. Qualitative and quantitative hybrid research methodologies can also serve as the proper data solutions if implemented properly. 

As research professionals and consumers, we continue to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We see shifts in the way we do things on a day-to-day basis, not only in the research industry, but more importantly in the way we interact with brands. As these interactions and purchase journeys continue to change, brands need to adapt to ensure they are meeting consumers’ needs accurately. Given many o...