Thinking About Data? Here Are 3 Things You Need To Do First

by Salmat
26 November 2013

“[In business] there’s no shortage of customer data, but there is a shortage of insight about how to grow and use customer data for better decisions” - Mike Linton, Ex-CMO Best Buy and eBay

Mike Linton has a point. Australian firms need to know how to tap into their customer data in order to make better business decisions. But it goes deeper than that. To truly get the maximum value out of their data, firms need to go back to the drawing board and focus on three key points;

1. Ask the right questions

It goes without saying that having a strategic approach to managing the capture, collation and output of data is critical. But before your firm starts collecting data or delving into existing data for insights, you first need to identify what data can do for your business. After all, your data is only as good as the objective of the business.

Data is celebrated for its ability to help firms reach the Holy Grail – a Single Customer View. But have you stopped to ask why you want or need a Single Customer View? You know it will enable marketing build a better customer experience, but how does it feed into the other various functions of the organisation?

Likewise, when asked what they want to do with data, many marketers will answer that they want to acquire and grow their customer database. But can they say how many customers and what they look like?

Another element that often goes unanswered is the financial value of the data. When was the last time you calculated a dollar value for your customer database? Ask yourself, who are your profitable customers and who would you happily let go?

A solid understanding of the value of data to your business will help you implement the right technology to harness your data; ask the right questions from your data; and deliver on your business goals – at all levels of the business.

2. Think beyond marketing

Data is much more than a tool for marketing to send personalised direct mail and customised offers; it’s about the whole customer experience. The whole business, for that matter.

Take sales: recent research by Gartner revealed that businesses that enable their sales representatives to leverage data on a day-to-day basis stood to increase revenue productivity by 17 per cent. By analyzing data, finding patterns of behaviour and identifying the things that are important to know, the sales team are better informed to make the right decisions about how to treat an individual in an interaction.

Another business area that stands to benefit is product development. Start-up company True&Co tapped into the data from its online bra shopping service to launch its own private line of lingerie. The line was designed using data from 200,000 female customers, including what underwear women chose and sent back, as well as the fit survey customers undergo.

Working out the value of data beyond marketing may require some rethinking across various departments. But by recognising data as a catalyst for your whole organisation, you can outperform in all areas.

3. Process, process, process

According to 2013 Teradata research, 42 per cent of marketers say that lack of process is the number one obstacle to using data insights in decision making.

In fact data is all about process. To truly harness your data and get the insights you need to drive a sustainable competitive edge, it’s imperative to put processes in place. Many firms choose to work with an external expert such as Salmat who can help put processes in place that enable more efficient management and understanding of data, so that insights can be brought to market as quickly as possible.

So before you delve into your data, take a step back and think.

Find out more about Salmat's marketing services here or call us on 1300 725 628.

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