What’s a Data Mart? A Quick Guide for Your Marketing Team

James Hart Alight Insights, Marketing Data Management

If you’re a data-driven marketer, you might already understand the concept of a marketing data warehouse — a huge, historical collection of all your organization’s marketing data.

But that’s not the only option for storing your marketing data. You also should know about the data mart, especially if you’re an agency that’s looking to build analytics as a competitive strength.

Data Marts Defined

A data mart is a subset of a data warehouse. Where a warehouse for a large enterprise will store all of that company’s data, each data mart is dedicated to a specific unit. The goal is to make it easy for users to get the information they really need.

For example, a large enterprise could operate a data mart for its sales team, a data mart for its marketing unit, a data mart for finance, and so on. A company with a national or global reach might create marts for each region where it’s active.

At Alight Analytics, we serve a large number of advertising and marketing agencies. For them, we’ve set up data warehouses that include separate data marts for each of their clients. Each mart is laser-focused on what the agency client wants to know. It’s a clean, orderly way to store marketing data.

What if you’re a brand that’s part of a large enterprise? There are advantages to creating a full-fledged, free-standing data warehouses that’s devoted strictly to marketing data. (As opposed to setting up a data mart inside your company’s existing warehouse.)

For example, with our ChannelMix solution, you get a marketing data warehouse that will automatically collect data from an unlimited number of media sources and make sure that information is validated and unified. And with ChannelMix Feed, the clean, consolidated media data can be piped directly into your company’s data warehouse or data mart, for even broader use and adoption.

What Are the Benefits of a Data Mart?

A data mart can contain millions of entries, but it’s still smaller than a data warehouse designed to serve an entire enterprise.

That’s because data marts are more focused. They deal only with information that a particular group of users needs, structured in a way that makes sense for them. (A nice feature if you’re an agency dealing with a diverse range of clients.)

A data mart could give you a greater ability to control access to your data. An agency, for example, might allow account representatives to see only the marts for the clients or regions they support.

Because a data mart is smaller and targeted, once it’s built, it usually takes less time to pull out the information you need for reports.

One thing to keep in mind: You shouldn’t decide how you’re going to store your marketing data until you’ve developed a full-fledged strategy that accounts for all your data sources and what you need to accomplish. Please let us know if you have questions — this is something our team can help you with.