One of the foundations of your business thriving is the research that your products and company are built on.
The data you collect is going to be the most valuable thing you have when you are looking to support ideas when pitching to investors and genuinely understand the needs of your customers.
The depth of the data you have will give you an enhanced understanding of your market, competitors, and your customers' expectations.
So everything that you produce will be able to speak directly to your audience.
How you collect this data can vary. And there is a range of different data types too that you should be aware of in order to make the most significant impact on what you do.
Primary Data is any data that you have collected for yourself rather than purchased or found during research. Primary data is only information that is obtained from the source, and you will be the first party to use the data.
Primary data and first-party data tends to be the same thing. That is to say that most often, primary data will come directly from your audience, and you will be the first party to use it.
This data can come from your CRM system, surveys in email blasts, or directly asking questions on your social media platforms.
First-party data differs from second-party data and third-party data too. You can purchase second-party data is the first-party data from another company. You can buy the second-party data or secondary data, usually directly from the company that collected it.
Third-party data is data that has been pulled together from various sources and is bought and sold often. It typically contains a much larger number of data points too.
First-party data is the most valuable to you and will have high accuracy.
Second-party data is similar to first-party, and when purchased from a similar company to yours will have a lot of insight and accuracy.
Third-party data has a much broader scale, but you will need to wade through the numbers.
It would help if you looked at a couple of things when it comes to data collection. Time and budget are the most significant factors. Decide the goals you have before embarking on any data collection. Here is a range of ways that you can collect data.
Every marketing campaign that you run will give you a delicious pile of data that you can use. You are likely running marketing campaigns on your webpages, social media, via email, and more. If you have the right software, then you can collate your data more efficiently. If you don’t want to use a single software to gather your analytics, then you can access all of your marketing data via your Google webmaster dash, Facebook dash, Twitter dash, and so on. But it is easier to use a single marketing data collection software.
Throwing up a deal in exchange for providing a few quick details is a quick way to have people give you the data you want. An email opt-in is usually the easiest option, and once you have a few small details (and used the right opt-in options), you can have an email funnel get to work.
Someone who signs up for your deal or your mailing list is already interested in your services or products, so with the right data collection, you will know how hot the lead is. Strike balance on any sign-ups. Consider the data you really need. If you ask for too much, you will get a lower take-up.
If you have spent enough time on your email marketing list, then a survey can give you some really good results. You can choose to collect quantitative data or qualitative data - or both. A well-executed survey will have a range of multiple-choice options, some space to write, and an incentive. The incentive could be a competition entry, or it might be a discount. Surveys can be conducted online, via telephone or every WhatsApp or text messages.
Online surveys are the easiest, and you can share them across your social media too.
You can use your business website and an app as tools for collecting data. Website visits are interesting as they can give you up to 40 data points. This can be where the person lives, how long they were on the site, where they came from, and where they exited.
Much of the data you can collect will depend on how well you or your marketing department have set up your analytics software.
You can also gather transaction data from both online and in-store. This will be information about how often your products sell, which combinations sell together, how people are paying for their products, and how often people are buying from you.
Social media provides us with so much of the data we really need. Follower lists, whom your followers are following, how they interact, and what they share… The list is endless.
As well as that you can monitor campaign responses, monitor brand mentions, and set up third-party social media monitoring too. All social media sites have a range of data available to you. Age, location, and interests are just the start.
There is a process that you will likely follow when you are collecting your data.
You have to know what data you need. Do you want to find your most engaging audience? What about the people who spend the most money? Or perhaps the return buyers who respond to specific adverts? When you know what you want to collect, you can decide which method you are going to use and set some goals.
All of your platforms will be collecting data all of the time. But you will need to decide what the time frame is for collecting new data. Transactional data and website data, you will collect consistently, and the same goes for social media. But when it comes to specifics and sending our surveys, they will fit in a specific timeframe. You’ll need to put a timeline in place.
Try to have your data collection months ahead of new product development, but not too far that the data is no longer of use. Timing is everything.
Choosing how you will collect the data will be the heart of your strategy. It will mean that your efforts will be plunged into a specific area for a while. The method or methods you choose will bring different data sets to the mix. So consider that when you start compiling from different places.
Now you have all of your data; you need to move forward with looking at it. Analyzing and organizing your findings is turning raw data into something valuable. Actionable steps can be taken from collecting and organizing the right data. Look for patterns, trends, and anomalies too.
For example, if you can see that you are getting sales from your Twitter funnel, but haven't been utilizing it well in the past, you will now need to factor that in with your marketing.
“Without big data analytics, companies are blind and deaf, wandering out onto the web like deer on a freeway.” – Geoffrey Moore
Once you have begun to look at how you can collect data, it is time to decide what you do with it. There are few things that will be first in line:
Improve your understanding of your audience - the language to use, the best times to post, and which products to market to whom.
Improve or expand - you will get a clear picture of how your company is doing, where you are performing well, and where you can expand. If you want to move from online to brick and mortar, use the location data to start building that progress plan.
Personalizing - when you know exactly whom you are talking to, you will know precisely what to say and how to say it. So all of your brand messages and marketing efforts will land well. You can then break down your marketing campaigns to different demographic groups to maximize the potential and sales.
Future - once you start digging into the data you have, you will be able to spot trends and patterns. You can then double down on what is working, create content that has a good track record, and you know it will do well in the future.
Your efforts to collect high-quality data will be part of why your business will be a success and thrive. Having access to data and knowing how to use it can help you capitalize on your big sellers, fix issues within your site or sales process, and even find new markets to expand into. Data is going to be the foundation and the growth of your business.
“The goal is to turn data into information and information into insight.” – Carly Fiorina