5 ways PR agencies manage large amounts of information

November 2, 2023

It’s quite hard to get our heads around the sheer amount of data businesses handle today!

If you don’t have an effective method in place for managing this information, you can find yourself drowning in a sea of data. Not only does this act as a huge productivity barrier, but it’s a massive safety risk too.

So, we’re going to explore five different ways that agencies can manage large amounts of information effectively.

The sort of data agencies handle

In the ever-evolving landscape of agency work, handling a wealth of different types of data is part of the process. Whether you’re a marketing, advertising, public relations, or any other kind of agency, the data you touch will be diverse and expansive.

To illustrate this, let’s take a look at some examples of the different types of data agencies handle:

Client data

  • Contact information – Names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.
  • Transaction histories – Past purchases, interactions, or contracts.
  • Feedback and surveys – Client responses to products, campaigns, or services.

Campaign Metrics

  • Performance data – Click-through rates, conversion rates, impressions, and engagement stats.
  • Audience demographics – Information about who is interacting with campaigns, including age, gender, location, and more.
  • Feedback data – Responses, reviews, and comments related to particular campaigns or advertisements.

Market research data

  • Consumer behaviour – Purchasing habits, brand preferences, and product usage stats.
  • Trends and predictions – Data pointing towards upcoming market shifts or preferences.
  • Competitive analysis – Information about competitors’ performance, strategies, and market presence.

Operational data

  • Internal communication – Emails, memos, and other communication between team members.
  • Financial records – Budgets, expenses, invoices, and profit margins.
  • Project management – Timelines, milestones, task lists, and project progress.

Legal and compliance data

  • Contractual documents – Agreements, terms, and conditions with clients or third-party vendors.
  • Regulatory compliance – Data that ensures adherence to industry standards or governmental regulations.
  • Intellectual property – Trademarks, copyrights, and patents.

The challenges of managing large amounts of information

You’ll face a number of challenges when handling large amounts of information. Recognising and effectively addressing these challenges allows agencies to harness the true power and potential of their vast data repositories.

  • Data overload – Data accumulates at an unprecedented rate, and the sheer volume can be overwhelming, making it difficult to process, store, and retrieve. If that wasn’t bad enough, duplicate or redundant data can clutter databases, which makes it a challenge to maintain data accuracy and quality.
  • Data security and compliance – The more data an agency holds, the more attractive it becomes to hackers and malicious actors. At the same time, the more complex data security becomes. 
  • Data analytics and reporting – Analyzing vast amounts of data requires advanced tools and expertise. If you don’t have the right tools, you may let vital insights go undiscovered.
  • Data integration and interoperability – Often, data resides in different departments or on various systems, and this creates integration challenges. Without data in standardized formats and structures, the task of combining datasets or ensuring they interact seamlessly becomes daunting.
  • Data storage and retrieval – Storing large amounts of data isn’t just about finding a place for it; it can get costly when you consider the hardware and maintenance involved. Plus, you’ve got to consistently back up all of your data and make sure you can quickly retrieve it if something goes wrong.

Strategies for effective data management

Now that you know the broad challenges you’ll face when managing large amounts of information, let’s look at how you can overcome them.

1. Data categorization and organization

In an era where information is flooding in from many sources, you cannot underestimate the importance of categorizing and organizing it effectively.

You need a game plan, and it should look something like this:

  1. Break your data down – Break your data into manageable, logical groups. So, whenever you dive back in, you know where to start looking! Think about walking into a library. You know exactly where to go, right? The data is organized into non-fiction and fiction, then into various genres, and then alphabetically. There’s a clear structure, and that’s what you need for your data. 
  2. Tag and label it – Use descriptive tags and labels for your data. This way, even if two pieces of information are in different “sections” and if one piece of information is in two “sections”, you can find them using a common tag.
  3. Stay consistent – Decide on a naming method and stick to it. If you’re calling one set “Client_2023”, don’t name another “2023_Client”. Consistency speeds up searches and reduces confusion.
  4. Commit to regular clean-ups – Just as you’d occasionally clean out a closet, routinely sift through your data. Remove duplicates and outdated info. It keeps your data fresh and relevant.

Why this matters

 ✅ Save time
No more endless searching. Know where everything is, right when you need it.

✅ Improve decision-making
With well-organized data, analytics become more accurate, leading to better, informed decisions.

✅ Boost efficiency
Less clutter means smoother operations. Think about it: a clean, organized workspace always feels better to work in, right? The same goes for data.

2. Use CCPA compliance software

The intricacies of modern data regulations, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), demand specialized attention in the US. As a result, we highly recommend CCPA compliance software for peace of mind because it is so widely used and accepted.

Benefits include:

  • Protection – By using CCPA compliance software, you will shield yourself from potential breaches of the regulation. This is important because CCPA breaches come with hefty fines.
  • Trust building – If you’re able to demonstrate that you adhere to such high-profile regulations, it will enhance your reputation, solidifying trust among your stakeholders and the general public.
  • Efficiency – This sort of software can automate many compliance tasks, reducing the manual workload and ensuring consistent compliance with the guidelines.

Of course, CCPA is just one of many data privacy regulations that are in place. So, you’ll need to figure out which pieces of legislation are relevant to your business and use compliance tools accordingly.

3. Make the most of financial reporting software

The critical importance and sensitive nature of financial data also deserves special attention.

Financial reporting software can help you to manage this type of data effectively. Let’s take a look at the three key ways this is achieved:

Accuracy

Gone are the days of manually punching in every number. Today’s financial software is smart. It helps catch those elusive mistakes, ensuring your reports don’t have any of those ‘oops’ moments. Plus, it saves you from the tedious tasks of manual calculations.

Insights

Beyond just storing numbers, these software tools are like mini financial detectives! They spot patterns, flag anything that looks weird, and highlight opportunities you might miss. 

Integration 

No more juggling between platforms to cross-check numbers. Everything can work in harmony, with your financial software extracting monetary data from all of the tools you use. 

4. Carry out regular data backups

Losing all of its important files and other essential documents is a disaster for any business. Imagine this happening to your business – how would it impact your operations?

Luckily, this is where backups come in. 

Backing up data is a bit like putting on a seatbelt. You hope you’ll never need it, but if there’s a crash (or, in the tech world, a system failure or hack), you’ll be super glad it’s there.

And don’t forget the nasty side of business – cybercrime and white collar crime. You need to have prevention, detection and restoration processes in place.

A solid, reliable backup means that even if things go sideways, you can bounce back without too much drama. Your operations can keep humming along, and that’s huge for peace of mind.

5. Developing clear data retention policies

Make information management easy, no matter how much data you handle

Not all data is like wine, getting better with age. Sometimes, it’s just taking up space or even becoming a risk. This is why it’s vital to have an effective data retention plan in place. 

When putting this plan together, some of the important elements you need to consider include:

  • Duration – Decide how long you want to hold onto different types of information. Maybe it’s a year for some data and five years for others? By doing this, you won’t end up hoarding unneeded data. 
  • Smart storage – Think about where you’re stashing your data. On-site? In the cloud? A mix of both? This is like deciding between a safe, a bank, or a hiding spot under the mattress. Each has its perks – it’s all about deciding what’s right for your situation.
  • Safely cleaning house – When it’s time to let go of data, do it right. Make sure it’s gone and can’t be recovered by anyone with bad intentions.
  • Communicate effectively to all stakeholders. Clearly explain all the data management processes and the precautions that all users will need to adhere to. Regularly give security precautions a test run with staff – and a review each time. As a communicator, I personally receive many emails every day, and I’m continually surprised by the daily volume of spams, trojan horses, hackers, etc. Your staff need to know exactly what to do if they suspect a false emailer has been able to slip through the safety net. 

For agencies, data can either be a tremendous asset or a ticking time bomb. How you manage it makes all the difference.

If you categorize data effectively, use the right software, and maintain clear data retention policies, you’re sculpting a more streamlined, risk-averse, and efficient agency future.

Image credits:

  1. https://unsplash.com/photos/person-in-black-suit-jacket-holding-white-tablet-computer-nApaSgkzaxg
  2. https://unsplash.com/photos/woman-and-man-sitting-in-front-of-monitor-IgUR1iX0mqM
  3. https://unsplash.com/photos/black-and-silver-laptop-computer-tR0jvlsmCuQ

Kim Harrison

Kim J. Harrison has authored, edited, coordinated, produced and published the material in the articles and ebooks on this website. He brings his experience in professional communication and business management to provide helpful insights to readers around the world. As he has progressed through his wide-ranging career, his roles have included corporate affairs management; PR consulting; authoring many articles, books and ebooks; running a university PR course; and business management. Kim has received several international media relations awards and a website award. He has been quoted in The New York Times and various other news media, and has held elected positions with his State and National PR Institutes.

Content Authenticity Statement. AI is not knowingly used in the writing or editing of any content, including images, in these newsletters, articles or ebooks. If AI-produced content is contained in any published form in future, this will be reported to readers.

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