In this guest column, Kelvin Kirk (pictured below), managing director at Pureprofile, argues capturing data is the easy bit for most businesses and here, he offers his six easy tips to use it in a completely more effective way…
Data has been called the oil of the digital era. It’s easy to see why when the five most valuable listed firms in the world – Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft – are now substantially data businesses.
Everyday companies are drowning in data. It is said 90 per cent of the world’s data has been created in recent years and we are expecting an increase of 4,300 per cent of yearly data production by the year 2020.
Despite this mad data rush, most companies are doing very little with all the data they are gathering. Studies show less than one percent of data is ever actually analysed, meaning brands are missing out on the valuable insights data can provide back into the business.
Capturing the data is no longer the issue – it is how the data is used that is meaningful. Here are six simple things brands should be doing now with their data to maximise and return the true value of that data back into the business.
- Engage – Are you in regular conversation with a relevant body of consumer or business customers on topics that are meaningful to your business? Or are you stabbing in the dark when it comes to drawing conclusions around your data? Continuously engage your target customers to stay truly informed about the shifting interests, values and responses of your target audience. Real world example: when it comes to fitness devices, it would be easy to assume that younger people are the majority of users. Whilst this might have been the case early on, Pureprofile recently uncovered that walkers aged 60-plus years now make up the largest number of fitness device users.
- Organise – Customer feedback rarely warrants a one-size-fits-all approach. Is the data you capture or pay for organised into the relevant customer segments you are targeting? This will make it easier for you to extract meaningful insights and test your marketing and product assumptions. Real world example: a leading travel destination brand recently uncovered a new customer segment focused on adventure travel. Serving targeted ads to this segment resulted in higher conversions and a four per cent increase in brand awareness.
- Real time – Rather than leaving customer data sitting in spreadsheets, it is now possible and preferable to create a living brand dashboard which captures and graphically depicts how your customers (and potential customers) are tracking across a range of indices. With customer data capture an ongoing part of most businesses, it is possible to include a live feed of key data points into this dashboard – providing executives with a real-time view of how the business is tracking across the measures that really count. Real world example: a leading car manufacturer captures post vehicle service survey responses into dashboards to track overall brand sentiment and customer satisfaction plus metrics by dealerships and sales people. These can be accessed any time, anywhere and easily understandable through charts and graphs rather than spreadsheets.
- Competitor Insights – It’s easy to get into a brand bubble and focus mostly on how your existing customers are feeling about your brand. But it is important to understand how your potential customers are tracking on views and engagement with your competitors. Competitor sentiment is also something that can feed into a living brand dashboard. Real world example: recent research for a real estate brand uncovered their smaller competitor’s were more prominent in terms of impressions. They also discovered some unique website where their competitors dominated the advertising message.
- Check –If you are not researching the effectiveness of your marketing and advertising campaigns you may well be wasting your advertising spend. Thanks to digital platforms, every major campaign can now be backed by an online pre and post campaign survey which measures against the key objectives of the campaign and the advertising impact on raising brand awareness along with any general sentiment shifts. Real world example: post campaign research found a travel destination experienced brand recall increase of five per cent and desire to visit increase of 3% amongst Australians. This gave them the impetus to repeat the campaign strategy with strong likelihood of increased conversions.
- Two Way – Changes in digital technology make it easier than ever to have a two-way conversation with customers. Often, customers don’t know how to express certain views or feelings and simple questioning techniques won’t capture all the insights you need about your brand environment. Great insights can come from testing product information and visuals – even testing product use and engagement. Real world example: a leading global beverage client tested a range of product designs to consumers before releasing to the market. This saved time and money allowing them to know which products consumers would purchase.