7 Effective Ways To Make Data Work For Your Business

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Data is your secret weapon when you want to get ahead and stay ahead of the competition. For too many businesses it’s a novelty or something to look at every now and then.

What you really need to see is that data tells you everything there is to know about your business. You just need to know where to look…

#1 Get To Know Your Ideal Customer: Build A Profile

Your ideal customer is the person who simply cannot wait to buy your products and sign up for your services. The only thing you don’t know about them is who they are. As a business, it’s your job to go out there and find them before someone else does.

The best way to do this is by building a profile, and you can do this is two different ways at the same time. You should have a profile in your head of who you’re aiming to target, so write it down and get your best people to come to a consensus.

You can also analyze all of the purchasing data that goes through your business on any given day. Pick out common themes: age, gender, location, anything that seems to be a recurring theme across your customer base. This will tell you which people are actually buying your products, and allow you to home in on your ideal customer.

#2 Create Platforms, Not Pipelines

Pipelines are inflexible and not at all exciting once you look at the opportunities big data gives you. Think bigger and bolder, and set about creating a sales platform. This will afford you all manner of different ways to convert people and nudge them closer to a sale.

“Viewing data in new ways can really help to drive your business forward. Especially if you’re able to discover new insights before your competition” says Marie Fincher, a content manager at Trust My Paper and IBM contributor.

It will also give your customers more reasons to engage with you and buy your products. Two things that I think we can agree are good for every type of business.

#3 Target Your Customers With Segmented Lists

You can use the data you have about your customers to target them with segmented mailing lists. This may sound like an old trick, but you can really take it to new heights with more information regarding shopping trends and buying preferences.

If you want to get the most out of your email database then break it up into different interest groups.

#4 Plan 12 Months Ahead By Analyzing Historic Trends

Every business follows a cycle, it may not be an annual cycle, but it’s a good place to start.

By analyzing the previous 3 years as individual cases you can learn about seasonal trends and start planning for them a year in advance. Christmas stock holding, seasonal surges in demand, and the best time to hire new starters are all things you can start to consider. By planning early you’ll be able to take a proactive, rather than reactive, approach to running your business.

#5 Make Smarter Choices When Recruiting Talent

When you think about data science business applications it’s sales and optimizing the bottom line that frequently come to mind. Interestingly, you can also use data to ensure you hire the smartest people at the best times.

Analyze employee performance as a function of previous experience and the time of year that they were hired. This will tell you whether to recruit graduates or people with several years in the business, as well as when to hire them.

Businesses often take whoever is available when they realize there is a gap in their skills base. If you can preempt this need then you will be able to advertise well in advance and sign up the best and brightest before your competitors.

#6 Validate Your Decisions & Learn Lessons

Data isn’t just for making choices; it’s also the only way to judge the success of those choices.

Compiling key performance metrics before and after key decisions is the best way to understand the impact of complex changes on your business. Always look for the metrics that tell you the most information with the least amount of processing or statistical manipulation. These will most likely be the factors that have experienced the largest change.

#7 Improve Efficiency By Removing Small Pieces Of Friction

Data science is ideal for iteratively removing the small pieces of friction that impact the customer experience. The Amazon One-Click Buy Button is a great example of this process. They learned that people were put off by having to enter payment details and security codes, so they developed a simpler way that people still trusted was secure.

It may only save a couple of seconds, but it’s earning them many millions of dollars a year. Take the time to understand what the data is telling you, and your business will reap the rewards too.



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