This is Part 1 of Cindi's interview with Michelle Jacobs, President and co-founder of marketing measurement agency Alight Analytics. On this episode, Michelle and Cindi discuss how data can turn marketing from a regretful expense to a worthwhile investment, the benefits of learning to ask the right questions of your data, and how to determine a customer's wants and needs without invading their privacy. Plus, they talk about how to flip the 80 percent of the time we spend preparing data with the 20 percent of the time we spend analyzing it, share tips for adapting to the rapid pace of change in technology, and much more. Key Discussion Points: Avoid the Data Death March. Like single-use plastics, individually prepping massive amounts of data using yesterday's methods (like Excel and PowerPoint) for each and every meeting, presentation, and report is wasteful. The right technology can free up time and resources by centralizing this data and allowing it to be multi-purposed on-demand across all departments. Form top-to-down best practices. Think about the question you want to answer first, then look for the data that can find that answer. Data turns marketing from an expense into an investment. With the right data to trace factors that go into lead generation, clients can quantify exactly how their marketing dollars make a difference beyond black-and-white sales figures. Messy data vs. clean data vs. no data. Data quality is good enough when it's directionally accurate. Consolidation is your friend. If you're a marketer and you're looking to make educated decisions, get your marketing data in one place so that you can look at it holistically and understand how your entire ecosystem is performing. More about Michelle: Michelle Jacobs is the president and co-founder of Alight Analytics, and she’s on a personal mission to revolutionize how marketers use data. Before co-founding Alight, Michelle drove marketing, advertising, and Web analytics strategies for leading companies such as H&R Block, American Century Investments, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Toyota. Michelle is a sought-after speaker and panelist with a unique perspective both on marketing analytics generally and being a woman in data and MarTech specifically. -- Listen to Part 2 of this interview here. -- The Data Chief is presented by our friends at ThoughtSpot. Searching through your company’s data for insights doesn’t have to be complicated. With ThoughtSpot, anyone in your organization can easily answer their own data questions, find the facts, and make better, faster decisions. Learn more at thoughtspot.com. -- For full show notes and more, go to thedatachief.com.