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November 27, 2014

Use Data to Your Advantage: What your Data Can Tell You if You Listen

In the past, businesses used data strictly to address problems with their service or product. Now there is a consensus in the marketing industry that data management, collecting, processing and acting on valuable data, will be a core component of successful companies. With the abundance of available data, obtaining the data isn’t the problem — knowing what to do with the data is where business owners get stuck. Data for the sake of data won’t get your company anywhere. Businesses need to be aggressive in converting data and producing opportunities, so here are a few ways to best utilize big data.

Predicting Routines
Knowing customers’ or employees’ habits can improve business. If gamblers, for example, leave a casino after losing an average of $200, then that casino knows when to work harder at keeping customers’ attention. What the casino offers can vary: free buffet dinners, cheaper drinks, or more inexpensive tables. The critical element is timing. If the casino offers a free buffet dinner when customers lose $100, they will lose money. And waiting until after the $200 average will be pointless because the customer is already gone. This same principle works with employee productivity. Companies can track when employees are most productive and adjust meetings, presentations and other time consuming activities around peak hours in order to get more done.

Be There Before the Customer
Collecting information via social media is a great way to predict customer needs or wants. Yet Entrepreneur Magazine reports that 63 percent of chief marketing officers don’t apply this data to projects. This data can be used to track trends in buying patterns before most consumers even realize they need a specific product. Snow tires can be marketed to those who have moved into a harsh winter location from a more temperate climate and didn’t know snow tires were necessary. Or unexpected trends, such as an increase in bicycle seats, can be adjusted for by any company that serves within a particular industry.

Maximize Efficiency
Big data can track the cost of producing a product. To understand the cost of goods sold, businesses pull information from manufacturing systems, billing departments, and CRM systems. Combining data is the only way to determine the true cost of production. More importantly, big data can help efforts to forecast how the cost of production might fluctuate as material costs change. Whether you handle the finances yourself or have a finance pro on the staff, it is important to look at data beyond just the base numbers to get a good idea of movement within the company.

Appeal to Your Base
Gathering information on who your customers are will help sales. When a company knows its customer base is mainly 30- to 50-year-old males with median incomes of $40,000, who own foreign cars, that company can target their marketing campaign. Advertisements will be shaped to those who are most likely to use that company’s product. And new advertisements can be developed to expand the base by using data to discover what appeals to other demographics. Some business owners lump all their customers together into one vague group, however, making distinctions using data will help to fine-tune your marketing strategies and approach to business.

The amounts of collected data available to companies is immense. But if it’s not used well, that data goes to waste. Predicting trends, customer relations, and cost adjustment are areas where proper implementation of information is key. Be aggressive with data. Study it closely. Utilize it to create a stronger business and increase profit.


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This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write about business, finance, women's interests, and technology. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three daughters. Dixie got advice for this article from the professionals of Map A Data Center, who provide a data center directory for those looking for data management.

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