What is Data & Insight maturity and how does Marketing Operations achieve it? (post 2 of 5)

July 15, 2022 Kristin Connell

Data is the fuel that powers modern marketing, enabling better understanding of customer needs that leads to better engagement, better content, better marketing tools/approaches, and more revenue generation. Data by itself is useless, however, without a mature data management infrastructure of people, processes, and technology to turn raw data into actionable insight that drives engagement and ROI. Our “Data and Insight Series” focuses on building that mature data infrastructure.


“Data & Insight maturity” can be defined as an ongoing journey towards improving and increasing a Marketing organization’s capabilities in leveraging data and insight. To achieve a high level of data and insight maturity, both data and insights must be fully incorporated into all decision-making and practices. Getting from where you are now to where you want to be is a process . . .

Step one: Understanding where you are today 

In helping our clients grow their data and insight maturity, we’ve created defined levels of maturity, with key milestones and metrics associated with each level of maturity. Our maturity model includes four levels and it helps give our customers a common baseline to understand where they’re at today based upon their assessment responses. The model also identifies what is “ideal” within each level, providing a clearly defined path for improvements, and a set of metrics to help quantify those improvements. 

[KC – Insert the graphic of our “data and insight maturity model” below:]


Improving maturity: some areas of focus

More data and insight maturity means having more capability with your data, which helps you drive revenues and pipeline. Here are some specific areas where organizations typically focus their maturity efforts:

Data integration. If your data is not integrated and made available to others across the organization and your systems, it’s not ready for prime time – you’ll need to plan and build key integrations to most effectively leverage your data to drive success.

Data analysis and optimization. What data do you have available to fuel analysis? Is your available data accurate and relevant? Garbage in typically means garbage out. What additional data might you need to gain more accurate, fuller insights?

Data Privacy and Data Compliance. Are your data practices compliant with existing and emerging data privacy requirements such as GDPR? If not, you could be facing penalties, and also end up losing the confidence/trust of your customers, who are increasingly concerned that their data privacy gets respected and protected.

Approaches to growing data and insight maturity

Of course, every client organization is different. Knowledge and experience count a lot when it comes to working on improving your data and insights maturity. That said, a “typical” diagnostic approach would be to start asking the right people the right questions, which would include:

  • What’s going on now with your data and insight capabilities?
  • What’s working and what’s not working?
  • What’s on your “wish list?” What specific capabilities do you want to develop or improve? 
  • What are Marketing’s priorities?
  • What are Marketing’s use cases aligned to these priorities?
  • What are the organization’s priorities?
  • What are the organization’s use cases aligned to these priorities?
  • How are you measuring success?
  • How would you like to measure success?

With these answers in hand, and after some deep analysis and follow-up, we can begin to map out what’s important, what’s not as important, what are the potential quick wins/”low-hanging fruit,” what needs to get put on the maturity roadmap, what resources are required to drive change, what timelines should be considered, and what investments are needed. 

Finally, you’re able to move from planning your roadmap to achieving measurable improvements in your data and insights maturity. It’s important to begin this journey with a clear destination in mind. Your overall business strategy and goals will inform the use cases you solve for, and those use cases will inform the choices you make around technology and data, and how tech and data get deployed.

Driving maturity: Pulling it all together

Your stakeholders need to be working from the same playbook, meaning that your Marketing Operations people and your Marketing-at-large people are aligned around the maturity roadmap/plan and how it’s being executed, which should (of course) align with your business strategy and specific use cases. This is typically best addressed through a structured approach to change management and continuous communication, as well as by the stakeholders agreeing upon a common set of metrics and processes. 

Ultimately, the goal would be to develop a cross-functional data governance model to monitor and improve your data and insight maturity. 

It’s a journey, not a destination

While there are key milestones along the way to data and insight maturity, based on your roadmap, the work should be considered ongoing in the same way that your customer experience and even your company performance is an ongoing, iterative process of improvement. Once you’ve reached one level or milestone, there’s always more to be done, even if that’s “just” monitoring and maintenance. 

It makes good business sense to prioritize projects and actions on your maturity roadmap, always aligned with your business goals and your Marketing goals. There must be a clear and agreed-upon vision of what success looks like and clear accountability from the top down to drive the maturity process forward. 

For help in improving your data quality and data management maturity, reach out to us today.

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