When I was a kid growing up in Alabama, our family had a garden where we grew all kinds of fruits and veggies. We had corn, tomatoes, potatoes, okra, watermelon and many other things. There were apple trees, peach trees, plum trees and a grapevine. My grandfather even raised a steer for meat that we’d process in the winter. Hunting season brought deer, birds and squirrels for the table. We gathered most of our own food from what we grew or hunted. It was always better than whatever we bought from the grocery store.

Over the past few months, we have shared key insights on this blog about building data programs and using data effectively to measure your efforts and win important issues with your audience. Now it’s time to really focus on the most valuable data at your disposal and what you can do with it.

The most important and useful data that your organization has is what it creates and gathers on its own, known as first-party data. It is worthwhile to audit you internal data gathering program, and more importantly, to create one if you have only relied on other data sources until now.

Measure Your Own Efforts
Once you begin to gather your own first-party data, you can then measure the effectiveness of all the activities conducted to affect your audience, whether that’s voters, members, people who back your issue or consume your product. Most likely you do this as part of having a website because you decided that measuring traffic would help you improve your reach. The same thinking should apply to all your data-measurement efforts. Develop data gathering on almost everything you do, from social media activity to advertising to field programs.

Enhance Ongoing Efforts
When consolidating data efforts and creating new information based on a holistic data program, you’ll find it leads to new ways to target and engage with your audiences. This enables you to develop email solutions to reach individuals who visit your website or even specific emails targeted to visitors of specific pages. For people who click on certain links in those emails, you can then move to a different stage of engagement such as a tailored live phone program that asks for donations or other specific types of helpful information.

Develop New Efforts
It’s always fulfilling when we get to help an organization start a data program that leads to new engagements and opportunities. Like eating the first dinner of food you’ve raised and gathered from your own garden, it is rewarding and produces positive results.

Your data program doesn’t have to be difficult. There is nothing wrong with starting simple, because many times that is a marked improvement on nothing. If you collect emails, then email them. If you survey an individual, target him or her, or in addition people who look like them, with specific messages gained from the newfound insights. If you gather a phone number and permission, send location-specific texts when they are close to a polling place or retail location.

This is only the tip of the iceberg.

Wrapping Up
You can accomplish great things with your first-party data, and it’s the easiest to use. It is highly customizable, flexible, belongs to you and is the most reliable. A new world of insights and actions open up to drive your strategies and meet your goals.

If you need any help putting together the framework of a first-party data collection program, give 24 Communications a call today!