CONTACT US 224 265 0400 or Email

The Agile Incubator Blog

Data Governance Marketing, Part 1: The Basics

You cruise around on the web, conducting searches, going to your favorite sites, checking on your Facebook, Twitter and email acquaintances. And along the way is a continuous stream of attention-grabbers: streaming ads, pop-ups, sounds (if you have the volume on). How oblivious are you to all the advertisements besieging you? How many do you remember?  Well, ascribe your retention to brain chemistry. Studies from the fields of cognitive psychology and neuroscience have identified the reactions in the brain which lead to retention. (See for a great overview – as well as all the decision-making involved in choosing your barbecue sauce!).

As the owner of your company’s data governance program, you probably don’t try to obtain the same “customer loyalty” as a barbecue sauce maker.  Nonetheless, you confront many of the same issues when instilling a data governance (DG) program and culture into your organization as does your favorite BBQ maker (btw, Emeril’s Kicked Up BAM! B-Q Barbecue Sauce was tops, according to Good Housekeeping). Your DG message for your audience’s time, attention and adherence is being pitted against job responsibilities, emails & vmails, company notices, legal mandates, team meetings, etc.  So, just like the Super Bowl advertisers, we need to up our game to effectively market our DG program. By blending classic DG education with “infotainment”–and a bit  of self- promotion—you can generate awareness, understanding, and support for your DG program as well as influence behavioral change. Think “get a like” or “go viral” through creative packaging.

Have you been systematic in how you approach establishing the communication mechanisms for the DG program? Our “Marketing 101” basics offer the following steps:

DG Position: Where is your DG program today?

  • Focused on all or just some of the following? Data quality, standardization, common definitions / vocabulary / glossary, changes to process, involvement in the development life cycle, or other?
  • Enterprise-wide or just selected departments?
  • Data stewards throughout?
  • Do you have DG policies and procedures being produced on an ongoing basis?
  • Are you tracking DG maturity? Are DG metrics related to performance goals and salary, promotions, bonuses, et al?

DG Dynamics: What is happening in the organization related to DG?

  • Do you have a DG Sponsor at the C-level? DG Steering Committee? DG Council? Are they proactive and taking ownership?Are recurring DG meetings taking place among the stewards?
  • Are improvements occurring due to issues identified via DG?
  • Do operational systems take precedence over DG for business SMEs and stewards time and attention?

Opportunity Analysis: How and where can you position DG?

  • Is DG sponsored by a C-level business advocate? Are you focusing DG energies in his/her business domain for quick as well as long-term DG wins?
  • Are you as the DG program along with the DG Council and the stewards producing policies and procedures?
  • What policies are “data domain” specific? Which ones are enterprise-wide?
  • Are you aligning DG with the administrative and oversight groups such as Audit? Risk? Legal? Security and Personal Information? Do you develop joint policies and procedures with these groups?
  • Are there major initiatives underway with whom you can align / insert? E.g., Gate reviews for standards (of reference data and values), consistency with data definitions, etc.

Strategy / Plan: What strategies will succeed?

  • How will you communicate DG purpose, policies and procedures?
  • How will you measure degree of acceptance of the policy?
  • How will you enforce DG policies?

Program Execution: How will you execute the DG strategy?

  • Do you have a list of the planned DG communications, measurements, resources, etc.?
  • Do you have a DG calendar? Have you coordinated participation in meetings with the identified business areas? Projects? PMO? Others?
  • Do you have resources assigned? Is funding adequate?
RELATED DOWNLOAD:  Toolkit:  How to Make Data Governance “Go Viral” at Your Organization


Creating your DG marketing plan is a similar process to building a business case. First, assess where your DG program is, the opportunities, and where you can establish the greatest impact and benefit. Then, flesh out your DG marketing plan and basic tactics.

This is less about data governance itself; more about marketing and sales.  For those of you on the technical side of the DG house: You thought you were in IT.   Wrong!  You are also in sales and marketing.  Any business professional today – yes, IT too – must play these roles.  Think about it – you need to research the facts, develop a plan, present a business case, and secure buy-in.  Then you need work on gaining continual support for your achievements. You need a marketing plan for DG.  If you never thought of yourself as a marketer, don’t worry.  Borrow from our toolkit of ideas and you’ll be set.

In our next blog in this series, we’ll explore the various communication and marketing vehicles.