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September 13, 2010

The Importance of Marketing Data

Depending upon the size of your business and at what stage of development you are in, the types of marketing data you collect will vary. For a business that has just started recently or will be starting up shortly in the future, you’ll want to do a tremendous amount of market research regarding target markets, advertising and marketing options, customer buying habits, local demographics, transportation and shipping costs, salary ranges, and anything else that may be relevant to your particular business.

If your business has already been established, you’ll hopefully have already collected much of this marketing data. But you should also now be collecting more comprehensive marketing data about your current customers. This includes information as to the regional area that contains the majority of your customers, payment methods, and average spending amounts. You should also be aware of your most popular products or services, your least popular products, and factors that may affect sales seasonally.

Together, all this information can help you better market your products or services. Additionally, it will be beneficial to know what your customers think of your products and services, and your business overall. This can help you gauge customer loyalty, and determine whether you may be in danger of losing customer to the competition. The more you understand about your customer base, the more empowered you are to provide them with expert service and beneficial products.

Obviously, you should also be collecting contact information if feasible, so that you can communicate easily with you customers about upcoming sales events or promotions, or other information regarding your business that they may be interested in receiving. Being aware of what publications your customers read, and what social networking sites they frequent will also enable you to market to them more effectively.

In regards to marketing specific products or services, your most profitable and best-selling products will likely be those that provide the greatest benefits to your customers. Knowing this information can help you to improve existing products as well as develop new ones.

Collecting marketing data on customer’s previous purchases can also help you determine where to focus your marketing efforts, and how better to segment your target markets so that you can even personalize your marketing to a specific customer base.

Collecting marketing data typically occurs in two stages. The first stage, in which primary data is collected, is when you collect marketing data for the first time. Collecting secondary data is the second stage: this type of data is usually data that already exists and is purchased from another source.

Primary data can consist of simple customer contact information, or more comprehensive data culled from customer surveys and questionnaires. Your customer’s purchase habits also fall into this category, as well as the fluctuation of sales data on daily, weekly, or monthly schedules.

Secondary data should never be discounted as meaningless: it can often give you great insight into specific areas and target markets. Additionally, thanks to the availability of vast resources on the Internet, much of this type of marketing data can be obtained for free, provided you have time to do the research and know where to look.

It is beneficial to have a good networking system in place to record and house all the marketing data you collect, as well as data backup and protection tools in place so that you do not accidentally lose your data. You’ll also need to ensure that you comply with the Data Protection Act, which serves to protect the privacy rights of your customers and the data you’ve collected about them.

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