Today, data is undoubtedly a leading driver of business success. How well a company is able to leverage insights from their data is crucial when standing out from their competition, amongst other factors.
The potential for data to allow us to better understand and adapt to the changing behaviors of customers is one of its most powerful features. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, it has allowed us to understand the activities and movement of people. In marketing, it’s used to help to identify those who are ready to make buying decisions and put products and services firmly in their line of sight. Whether it’s about projecting the spread of pandemics or predicting what people want to buy, data improves our understanding of the world around us.
The basic principle is the more you understand about your customers, the more accurately you can predict what they want. You can also deliver it in the way that is most convenient to them.
Data can even become a part of your business model, leading to exciting new ways to generate revenue. There are many opportunities now for small businesses to monetize the data they are generating by providing value added services or selling data to customers or third parties.
A source of data that shouldn’t be overlooked is attitudinal data. This is data gathered through market research, at a basic level, or, in more mature data strategies, through methods such as social media sentiment analysis. Advanced analytics applications that involve artificial intelligence (AI) can create automated reports telling us who is using our products and what they are saying about them by monitoring chat over platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.
Transactional and point-of-sales data is internal data (generated and unique to your business), as can customer data be if you are collecting it through strategies such as loyalty programs or behavior tracking. It also includes the type of data we use when we take advantage of services like Google Trends to learn what people are looking for online. This lets users upload what they know about their own customers, then use algorithms to put their advertisements in front of other customers with a similar profile.
The data technology available today gives businesses unprecedented abilities when it comes to understanding their customers. By combining transactional, demographic, and attitudinal data from internal and external sources, we can predict what customers want more accurately and make sure we're in the right place at the right time to provide them.
As a business grows more experienced with data and analytics it can start to move towards advanced use-cases involving real-time data, with the aim of capturing “micro-moments” – split-second buying opportunities that exist for mere moments but can be hugely profitable if identified and acted on at scale. This is because it understands the speed at which customer behavior changes and only data gathered very recently can be useful for telling us what's happening right now and in the near future.
Today, marketers can utilize micro-moments to hit customers with a personalized text message, phone notification, or a pop-up that will appear on their Facebook feed that customers can use for other functions.
Businesses and organizations have long used business reporting and data analytics on a tactical basis. But in recent years big data management and analytics has become more strategic in an effort to leverage data for competitive advantage and monetize data assets. More immediately, with the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic disruptions, businesses now realize the need to better utilize data for such tasks as managing supply chains and retaining employees. All this is changing how businesses collect, manage, utilize and analyze their growing volumes of data.
Transactional data is a great starting point for a lot of businesses. It tells us what people are buying how much they are paying for it and allows us to understand broad consumer trends as well as local preferences. This helps us design products and services that we can be confident people will spend money on. It also lets us optimize prices by pricing products at a level at which we can be confident they will sell.
Something that is hugely valuable to businesses is customer demographic data. Once we understand what people are buying, we can understand who is buying what. As always, these different types of data are much more useful in combination than either of them is in isolation. When working with personal data, it’s essential to understand the principles of data governance to ensure you are following through on trust your customers are putting in you if they are letting you have their personal data.
Since we have developed technologically, we can monitor the movement of potential customers using satellites and sensors. If you aren’t continually upgrading your ability to use data to pinpoint their location and understand their behavior, you’ll be overtaken by others who are.
Spotting and monitoring behaviors and patterns gives companies a chance to predict where things are heading, how demand for our products or services will change over time, and what will prompt that change. Trend analysis and prediction often came down to ‘gut instinct’ in previous times but big data is taking a lot of the guesswork out of that process.
Social media has become a particularly valuable source of data, making activities such as identifying niche markets and analyzing customer feedback much easier and cheaper.
In the past, understanding your competition was limited to industry gossip or looking around rivals’ websites or shops. Some might go as far as pretending to be customers in order to find out more about a competitor’s service or product. These days financial data is readily available, Google Trends can offer insights on the popularity of a brand or product, and social media analysis can illustrate popularity and show what customers are saying.
Keep in mind that it’s also easy for your competitors to glean more information on your business than ever before. There’s no way around this, but you can stay one step ahead by keeping up to date on the latest big data technologies and uses.
Using data can help to optimize business processes and everyday operations. If used properly, data can be used to make improvements and generate efficiencies to help the business overall.Analyzing data allows a company to gain real-time visibility into your operations and look for ways to increase efficiency.
Thanks to big data, businesses can better understand their customers – what makes them tick, why they buy, how they prefer to shop, why they switch, what they’ll buy next, and what factors lead them to recommend a company to others. Companies can also better interact and engage with customers by analyzing customer feedback in order to improve a product or service.