Seven Habits of Highly Effective Data Providers

SEMA News—July 2018

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Data Providers

By SDC Staff

There is no denying the incredible success of Steven R. Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. First published in 1989, his book has served as a guide for personal effectiveness for millions of people. To date, more than 25 million copies have been sold worldwide. While the book sits in many personal libraries, Covey’s ideas have also been incorporated into innumerable business’ employee-development programs and college classrooms. There is a high likelihood that you have been through some sort of Seven Habits training.

While the concepts are meant to improve personal effectiveness, they can be applied to other pursuits, ranging from sports to business processes. Rather than discussing how the seven habits might improve your ability to kick a ball or swing a bat, we’re going to focus on their application to data management.

Habit 1: Be Proactive

The word proactive is defined as creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened. When it comes to data development, a proactive stance is required for any degree of effectiveness. Savvy suppliers understand the importance of well-developed product data and work to stay ahead of retailer and consumer demands.

Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind

Without a destination, we are left to wander aimlessly with no hope of any meaningful success. We don’t approach our businesses that way and certainly shouldn’t approach product information that way. Good, meaningful content needs to be well planned to be well executed. Consider how good descriptions and marketing content create clarity and demand for a product. Plan to build a comprehensive repository of images and videos that replicate the in-store experience for consumers.

Habit 3: Put First Things First

The idea of putting first things first can be communicated with a single word: priorities. If good product data is not a priority for a manufacturer, product sales must not be a priority either. Strong product presentation is a requirement for sales success and is especially important for the ever-increasing number of consumers who purchase online.

Habit 4: Think Win/Win

Interdependent relationships are a necessity in business, and a proactive effort to create mutual benefits is a prerequisite for lasting business success. The manufacturer/reseller relationship is a partnership that provides ample opportunity for both to win. The reseller works hard to get the product in front of consumers, and the manufacturer provides the product information needed to do so effectively.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

Good listeners are rare, which is why they are so appreciated. Smart manufacturers pay attention to the demands of their customers and seek regular feedback from their resellers to better take an active role in ensuring their success. Resellers want the highest level of product data and are concerned about both completeness and quality of content.

Habit 6: Synergize

Synergy occurs when the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The relationship between manufacturers, resellers and consumers is symbiotic. All parties have input and interest in the sales cycle. Consumers are end users who make the final buying decision. Resellers/distributors put the product in front of consumers. Manufacturers provide product and supporting materials (product information, fitment data and images) to ensure that the reseller is able to properly present products.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Sharpening the saw means to continually renew yourself so that you are always able to operate at your highest level of effectiveness. As we apply this concept to data, we need to be mindful of the need to keep product data up to date and performing to its fullest potential. It is easy to fall into the trap of a “good enough” attitude. New applications, updated descriptions and fresh videos should be a part of the ongoing data management process.

There you have it: Seven Habits of Highly Effective Data Providers. If you need help in any of these areas, please contact the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC) today. We stand ready to assist. We can help you develop a proactive data strategy and execute an efficient plan to benefit both your business and your customers.

To learn more about how you can take control of your product data and manage it at the lowest possible cost, contact SDC Senior Director of Membership Jim Graven (East Coast) at or 888-958-6698 x4 or SDC Membership Manager West Coast Tim Stewart at or 888-958-6698 x9.

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