Frequently Used Data Terms


Data used to be such a simple word to use and understand. But as it has become ever more important to marketers, a whole new language has grown up around it. Here are a few of the key Data terminologies we’ll be using with our Clients this year.

Data Perturbation:

Initially used in the Healthcare industry, the term data perturbation is the process of hiding sources of data. Healthcare organizations use it primarily to describe the preservation of private information. At Cornerstone, we use it to refer to a means of accessing more granular information for data mining in a PIPEDA-compliant manner.
Direct-To-Consumer (Digital & Traditional):

A modern approach to Direct Marketing, D2C means marketing through an array of new and old channels directly to individual consumers. Traditional channels are Direct Mail, Telemarketing, Newspaper, Radio, etc.  Digital refers to newer channels. They lead to a different breadth of data, data access, collection and analytics.  

Attribute Data:

Attribute data refers to data that help us create knowledge about a person.  For instance, there is no particular information in “Jennifer Smith” but we can create the following 2 data attributes that tells us something about her:  (1) Gender = Female, (2) First Name Initial = NO.  Each of these are considered attributes.  Cornerstone partners with various organizations such as Credit Bureaus to create / access attribute data. Attribute data make for rich and targeted modelling and analytics for marketers.
Hybrid Data Architecture

Many organizations are moving away from building large enterprise data warehouses and focusing on platforms designed for the purpose(s) they are being used for. This ensures better agility and flexibility as  data sources are constantly changing, and enables massive data processing. The “hybrid” approach ensures that marketers can  move away from the rigidity of old data warehouses while still ensuring that certain checks and balances are in place before data is deployed. Hybrid data architecture was either coined or became popular as a result of the uptake of Hadoop as well as in-cloud data storage.
A Hybrid data architecture should be able to support unstructured data, while still maintaining the benefits of a traditional enterprise data warehouse. Cornerstone’s Agile Database Solution is designed using hybrid data architecture.
Re-usable Data Model:

This refers to a data model that is not customized for a particular project, and can be re-purposed for other projects.  Please note that a “data model” refers to the architecture of the data.  This is not a statistical (analytical) model.
Data Governance:

This is a big topic in any data management discussion.  It is about controlling the access and use of data.  Usually organizations create roles for data stewards (responsible for content and usage of data), and data custodians (responsible for safe custody, storage, etc. of data).
Stage Gate:

This is a Six Sigma QC process. It is often used by Service industries. The objective is to turn Quality Control (QC) processes into an Audit function. The end to end production process is divided into milestones. Each phase (milestone) has to pass QC before the next one starts. The QC is a set of pre-designed questions (audits) to ensure that the phase meets the desired standard. Cornerstone uses this process to eliminate redundancy in our production teams and ensure our Clients receive the most accurate picture of their customer/prospect data.

Data Strategy:

Data is becoming pivotal for the survival of most organizations. It requires proper storage, access, purchase of new data, new development, data governance, new analytical tools, etc.  As such, it is important to create a long-term data strategy and plan to determine the approach an organization needs to take.  This ensures that:

  1. The organization’s approach is in response to its mission and long term plans.
  2. Costs are minimized by taking a more methodic approach to data.
Help to harness the power of data in your campaigns, with Cornerstone’s rich data sources, data management and targeting solutions. Learn more about key data terminologies by signing up for our newsletters at

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