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If you think data-driven mode of functioning for your business is the future, you are wrong. It’s the present, to be precise!
It’s no longer a secret that businesses thrive on how they leverage data. From Fortune500 companies to budding start-ups, each of them capitalizes on the wealth of information that data contains in terms of how they can accelerate their business. That’s why perhaps there’s a growing trend of appointing a Chief Data Officer!
Wondering where we are headed?
We are headed towards a more all-pervasive data-driven business culture wherein every business would make business decisions based on how they leverage the data specific to their context.
If you are worried how to catch up with this data-centric mode of working and leveraging data, here’s how you can go about it:
How to Access and Leverage Data
Data is the new oil.
It’s better than gold.
It’s the engine of the business success and growth.
So far, so good!
But before you jump the band wagon and ride the wave of data, there’s a billion dollar question that needs to be answered.
The question is how to get the data!
Data is out there on the Internet but it’s not easy to extract it and access it in a form that you can leverage it.
Therefore, the first point is to find ways to extract and access it in a format wherein you can process, analyze and derive insights from the data.
To start with, you can do it manually- copy and paste. But trust me, it will take forever to scrape one website or data set. It does not work in this jet age anymore.
This is where web scraping comes in.
Web scraping automates the process of extracting the requisite data and makes it available in the format of your liking.
There are numerous tools available in the market and it will require considerable thinking on your part as to what kind of tool fits the bill for your specific needs.
In any case, you will need to leverage web scraping in order to be able to leverage web data!
Leveraging Data for Competitive Advantage
Do you ever reflect upon how data can provide the competitive advantage for businesses?
Boggles the mind, doesn’t it?
But no worries; here’s how it works:
- Since data is invaluable, the science of transforming large datasets into actionable intelligence has grown manifold over the years.
- The reason why such actionable intelligence matters is that it can considerably improve decision-making.
- You might wonder what kind of decision-making. The answer is as follows:
- Forecasting and planning
- Performance management
- Research and Development
- Enhancing customer experience
- Developing new pricing strategies etc.
- It might all sound abstract. However, take the case of an e-commerce company. Imagine what leveraging data can do for developing new price strategies for it.
- In the same way, leveraging data can be helpful in every aspect of the business which can lead to a distinct competitive advantage.
Leveraging Data for Marketing Strategies
There are numerous ways to market your products and your company.
How would you know a particular strategy is a better one?
There’s only one way to distinguish: data.
Go where data takes you.
Not sure how to implement it?
Here’s how you can leverage data for marketing strategies:
- Whether it’s email marketing or social media marketing, you need to start with data and what data is telling you. In fact, even lead generation will rest entirely on data!
- Targeting new customers: If you want to target new customers, you can no longer assume or guess what they want. You need to leverage the data regarding what they are searching for, the challenges that they face, what drives their purchase behavior in order to devise your marketing endeavours. You can market your products and services in a far more effective manner and present the right message to the right person at the right time. This will drive purchase behavior and result in winning over new customers.
- Targeting Existing Customers: As you would know, it’s six times costlier to acquire new customers compared to retaining existing ones. With insights derived from data, you can retain your existing customers. You can analyze the data regarding the purchase pattern and related stuff as far as your existing customers are concerned and upsell and cross sell products accordingly.
- Identify New Opportunities: Once you learn to track customers’ behavior patterns, analyze the social media conversations and keep an eye on overall market conditions, you will be able to identify new opportunities to market and sell your products. Leveraging data can be a great way discover new opportunities and run a targeted campaign to capture the niche.
- Measuring the Market: You can measure whatever goes on and accordingly devise your marketing strategies. You can keep track of the following:
- Email open rates
- Click through rates
- Views, share and likes
- Time spent on the website
- Coupons to track
- Surveys etc.
- As you can see, the possibilities of leveraging data for marketing are limitless. It will depend on how well you understand the significance of data and how well you can carry out data scraping. You will need to maneuver web scraping tools to perfection to access this kind of data and derive insights.
Leveraging Data to Improve Business Outcomes
Businesses always look to improve their processes and enhance the efficacy so that business outcomes can eventually be improved.
The question is how?
Well, earlier the answer was believed to be in employee training and automation. However, now the secret lies in data.
Yes, if you can leverage data, you can substantially improve business outcomes. But business outcomes take a particular route. It requires a business to focus on specific aspects and their improvement.
Here’s how you can go about it:
- Improve Product Quality: The difference between a Fortune 500 company and an ordinary company is always the product quality. A leading company will invest in the product quality. For this purpose, companies have begun to leverage data regarding sentiment analysis, customer feedback, social media monitoring and so and so forth so that they can devise and design better products.
- Improve Service Quality: Much along the same line, Amazon trumps the book store or grocery shop on the corner because Amazon provides a much better service. Companies have started leveraging data to figure out what customers like and what they don’t in terms of service. This enables them to streamline their processes and provide much better service quality. Those companies which can leverage data for improving service quality will be the ones to drive growth in the future.
- Increasing Productivity: Using the same resources – human as well physical, companies are looking for improving the business outcomes. They aim at doing more with less effort. Businesses which leverage data regarding the use of resources and areas that need improvement invariably improve their processes and increase productivity.
- Each aspect of a business can be and needs to be improved in order to achieve the business outcomes in the end. For this to materialize, leveraging data would be an inevitable requirement.
Leveraging Data to Create Value
With the advent of Internet, businesses have gone online and you could purchase the same product from several different companies from across the world.
In short, competition for business and growth has just gone to the next level.
So what’s the key to survival and growth in this competitive scenario?
While predicting the customer’s next purchase could provide the immediate advantage, the long-term growth and relationship with the customer may still elude you.
Well, in one word, the answer is: value. If you could create value, you could stand out from the rest and carve a niche for yourself.
Wondering how data can help you do that?
Here’re some actionable ideas to leverage data for creating value:
- Don’t just think only about how to get more customers and retain the existing ones. It may never be enough. Think of how you can provide inputs to customers that can help them and create value for them.
- Amazon and Netflix do this very well; they save a lot of time and energy on the part of their customers because they leverage the data they have and help the customers with valuable insights. They provide recommendations and inputs in a systematic way to create value for the customers.
- If you can reflect upon this and work out ways in which you can leverage data, you can provide end number of inputs for your customers and create value for them.
- Moreover, customers at times feel deceived by a lot of marketing that goes on. If you could provide them the help in making the right purchase decision based on the data that you have crunched and derived insights, you can make a huge difference in the way customers think about you. They may begin to develop deeper trust in your company.
- When you create value and build trust, their loyalty is the net result. So get hold of the data and analyze it as well as you can and leverage it in a way that creates value for your customers in the form of actionable tips and insights.
- In this way, you will be able to guide customers and handhold them while they navigate the maze that Internet has become. Right information creates a lot of value for customers.
Leveraging Data to Become a Truly Data-driven Organization
There is a new term coined for organizations that depend on data to arrive at their decisions: insight-driven organizations.
They process data derived from multiple sources and glean valuable insights to make well-thought out business decisions.
Here’s how you can also go on to become a truly data-driven or insight-driven organization:
- To start with, invest in data. Invest in web scraping tools. Get hold of the latest and advanced tools that you can.
- Once you have the tools, create a culture of collecting and compiling data in a systematic way on a regular basis.
- Say good-bye to those gut decisions. Before you make any business decision, insist on the analysis of data you have gathered and go by what data says.
- Appoint a Chief Data Officer. It will show your commitment to being a data-driven organization. All the stakeholders will be able to align their work towards making it a data-driven organization.
- Derive insights from data and mould and shape everything the way data unfolds. This will allow you to keep an open mind and be data-driven rather than instinct-driven.
- Integrate automation and latest tech tools which can provide real-time, usable data regarding each aspect of your processes.
- In short, focus on data and be driven by it!
There’s hardly any dispute regarding the utility and significance of data.
But the question is of making it an integral part of organizational vision, mission and processes.
If you can integrate it in your systems and leverage it to derive insights for each dimension and aspect of your business, you will be able to stand out from the rest and achieve spectacular business success!
Trust me, there will be data to prove it!!!