Knowing Where in the Data to Find Business-Destroying Secrets

Debra Ellis President, Wilson & Ellis Consulting

Posted on August 23rd 2013

Knowing Where in the Data to Find  Business-Destroying Secrets

top-secretSecrets are powerful. They connect people and hold organizations together. Most Mafia flicks have a character that is in high demand by the organization and the authorities. The character is in a position of power because he is knows the secrets of the family. If the authorities gain access to those secrets, they win. Invariably, there will be a battle between the opposing forces because people want to know where the bodies are buried so they can destroy the organization.

Companies have secrets that affect long-term success, too. While less macabre than buried bodies, unfound business secrets can still destroy the business. Knowing the secrets hidden in corporate databases is the difference between growth and lost marketshare. Invest resources in finding the information that makes your company better. Get started by asking these questions:

Why do your customers choose your company over the competition?

What are the internal and external trends that affect your business?

How do processes and policies help or hurt your company?

What data provides actionable information?

Where do lost customers go?

How many new customers are hit-&-runners?

Which social media sites are your customers using?

How does everything (yes, everything) work together to benefit customers and company?

Why were specific processes and policies established?

Are the processes and policies still needed?

How do your customers move between channels?

Why isn’t your social media strategy working?

What is the tipping point that makes customers click, call, or visit?

Having knowledge about the items listed above is “knowing where the bodies are buried.” Body parts are often scattered across channels, departments, and divisions. It’s like a secret formula where segments are given to different people to safeguard it. They have to work together to assemble it into something usable.

Who knows where the bodies are buried in your business? Is it you? Someone else? Or, is it possible that no one within your organization knows the innermost workings that drive revenue, profitability, and customer satisfaction?

Seeking answers often finds more questions than answers. Keep digging until you find all of the body parts that make your company unique. The information you discover along the way can be used to make your business more efficient, your marketing more effective, and your customers more loyal.

Every self-respecting wise guy knows that someone in the organization needs to know where the bodies are buried. Shouldn’t you know, too? 


Debra Ellis

President, Wilson & Ellis Consulting

Debra Ellis is a business consultant, author, and speaker. She specializes in showing companies how to improve customer acquisition and retention using integrated marketing and service strategies. Her latest marketing guide, 31 Ways to Supercharge Your Email Marketing, is a practical resource for marketers seeking better results with minimal investment. Her engineering background provides statistical insight to finding actionable data that can be used to grow companies and reduce costs.

She is recognized as an expert in marketing from direct mail to social media, customer behavior, and strategic planning. Her expertise is often tapped by media sources including: The New York Times, CNN/’s Small Business Makeovers, Target Marketing, Multichannel Merchant, and MarketingProfs.

Her marketing guides include 31 Ways to Supercharge Your Email Marketing, Social Media 4 Direct Marketers, and Marketing to the Customer Lifecycle.

Debra loves the art and science of multichannel marketing. She is a student and teacher of the methods that transform shoppers into buyers and buyers into lifelong customers. In 1995, she founded Wilson & Ellis Consulting, a boutique firm specializing in creating strategies that make channels and departments work together to optimize the customer experience. Since then, she has worked with over a hundred distinguished clients such as Costco, Edmund Scientifics, Jacuzzi, Ross-Simons Jewelry, and The Body Shop.

Prior to founding her firm, Debra was instrumental in the record growth of Ballard Designs, Inc. while serving as Chief Operating Officer. Today, she uses her experience and expertise to show executives how to successfully navigate marketing channels and integrate activities to profitably grow their business. Her practical approach maximizes the return on investment.

She can be reached via email at She blogs at

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