To run a successful business, a strategy for data analytics is a must. Analyzing data is how savvy leaders collect information, wring it out, and extract quality, timely, actionable intel they can then use to run their business better. Thankfully, in the era of smartphones, access to personal data about customers has never been more abundant or more accessible to obtain. We are living in a new economy, and data is the driving force behind every successful brand making waves today.
Living in this new data-heavy economy requires clarity of purpose, empathy, bravery, and agility. The marketing landscape changes fast, so you must be able to keep up and pivot when needed. In today’s world, brands have the chance to use first-party data to sell directly to consumers. This first party data is vast if you know what to do with all that information.
So, What’s the Point of Having a Data Strategy?
According to a 2018 Consulting/IBM Watson Marketing Study, 88% of marketers aren’t using data to its fullest potential. When used right, data can give you a serious competitive advantage. Take Nike for example. Instead of relying on a third party, Nike started selling online. They also put into place features that allowed consumers to customize their products. This strategy gives them new data that they can then use to market more efficiently. They also added digitally oriented services like Nike+, and further increased their data collection, which in turn further helped them make better-informed decisions.
Or consider Coca-Cola. They started a digital-led loyalty program to jumpstart their data strategy, and by listening to their consumers, they were able to increase customer retention and stay relevant in an increasingly digital landscape. Their data strategy helps them to create branded content that speaks to varying audiences in ways they connect with most. For some, it’s music, for other audiences its sports. They strive to bring branded content that aligns with the passions of their customers and having a data strategy is what helps them do that.
A robust data strategy creates a new business model that allows brands to connect, interact, and sell directly to consumers, increasing revenue and developing relationships at the same time. Data enhances a customer’s journey. Smart brands recognize this and use this to their advantage. In fact, according to a March 2018 Survey by Salesforce and Deloitte, brands are finding that a valid data strategy is so vital to success, more are hiring data scientists or acquiring data analytics companies (like Nike and their acquisition of the leading data analytics company Zodiac) to get help in creating one.
Just think of all the brand's people “love” right now. Names like Apple, Netflix, YouTube, and Google. These brands are digital first, which allows them to tap into nuances of information that traditional brands can’t touch. They are leaders in applying data science to customer experiences and using it to measure critical moments in the consumer journey, and they are continually looking at patterns to help drive decisions.
Ways to Use Data Effectively
Chris Paradysz, co-CEO of PMX suggests brands ask three fundamental questions to get them started.
- Who are your customers?
- What do they want today?
- How can you evolve to meet their needs in the future?
Once you answer these questions, you can begin to identify the data that makes a difference. Remember that consumers want a personalized experience. They want recommendations that fit their needs and desires, and they want brands that understand what they want, that can deliver it better than the next guy.
Consider your unique value proposition and how you can help your brand stand out from your competitors. Smart brands look at data first. Dana Hayes Jr., CEO of ShareThis recommends using data to determine who to target and how to target them. Understanding your data makes your first targeting efforts much more valuable, instead of targeting segments of consumers first and then using data to measure their experience.
Creating an effective data strategy can help take your brand to the next level. An important consideration, you should never rely on data alone. Brands must also have a human element, or they will miss the mark entirely. You can foster that human element by putting yourself in the shoes of your consumer, figuring out the right questions to ask them, and then using data to help you provide them with an answer. People first, data second.