Big data, little data, thick data, continuous data, transactional data, blah, blah, blah. Data accumulates at a mind-numbing rate. In fact, many companies end up ignoring data because it’s so overwhelming.
So what is the best approach to making better decisions based on data?
Begin by keeping things as simple as possible. Narrow down the types of data that will best inform your decisions. Then focus like a laser until you have the systems and analysis in place to move your company forward.
Here are some broad categories of data to consider and the benefits of each one.
Customer sentiment, product acceptance, brand lift and other types of primary customer or industry research can inform your marketing and marketplace. Qualitative, anthropology and ethnography (thick data) represent research with deep insights about your brand and products or services. It can also inform quantitative research that will give you data lending itself to even more slicing and dicing. Augment with third party research data to authenticate what you learn.
These types of research data represent an important point in time. If you tap into continuous data from sources like social or search, you can see a pulse that builds on what you learn from primary research. This will soon become big data, but by staying focused and using the right tools, it’s possible to turn it into information.
Direct Marketing Data
You’ll find many lists available to reach your customers efficiently. Your first step is to find a reputable partner like Migrate Outdoor. We’ll sift through your transactional data to find your best customers and then build look-alikes from that customer base. Cheap lists are just that, and if you add printing and mailing, you could invest thousands of dollars in sending to the wrong people. If you are emailing, you risk a reputation as a spammer.
Internal or Transactional Data
Another useful role for this data is to pinpoint your most profitable products or sales staff. If the 80/20 rule applies, a limited marketing budget is best focused on those activities and people that make the company profitable.
This category includes your website, email and app analytics, CRM, paid media, social media and sales data. To make this information useful, it’s essential to set goals and KPIs for the data. Often interpretation of the data is aided by visualization. But analysis that leads to decision-making comes from understanding industry benchmarks, your company’s vision and your marketing savvy. Partner with your agency to bring this data together and analyze it.
As your sophistication with data grows, begin to apply data from sources even closer to your customers. IoT (Internet of Things) like sensors and wearables, in-store traffic patterns, seasonality, etc., can all generate even more insights. But this additional data will drive the need for more sophisticated models to make sense of the data. As machine learning and artificial intelligence become more economical, the ability to make better business decisions will be within the grasp of even small businesses.
While many other types of data are available, keep your focus on data that can move your company forward. At Migrate, we’re always open to conversations about how your data can do just that.