By BlackDog’s Marketing Team
With social distancing keeping many of us at home all day, we’re left to find different ways to pass the time. Some are using the time to refine an artistic skill-set or possibly cleaning around the house. Maybe it’s hours spent binge watching a new show. However, most business teams are using this opportunity to tackle some very important homework – data analytics. Reviewing data analytics should absolutely become a habit moving forward. As we prepare to move into a post-COVID world, customers’ needs and wants are going to change. Use the data you’ve collected and let the numbers help guide you on your future business plans. In this article we’ll take a look at the importance of reviewing your company’s data analytics now, to try and get ahead of the competition moving forward through data evaluation.
What You’ll Learn
- The Fundamentals of Data Collection
• Primary Data
• Secondary Data
- Digging Up The Data
• Reviewing What You’ve Got
• Four Low Cost Strategies To Collect Data
- Five Questions For Evaluating Data
- Let the Data Guide Your Decisions
The Fundamentals of Data Collection
Before you can dive into the numbers, let’s first review exactly what you’ll be looking at. Oftentimes, you’ll hear the data analytics team discussing two key variables – primary and secondary data. Primary Data is any information your team has collected. Some examples include Google Analytics data and CRM data. Secondary Data is any information collected and analyzed by other sources. Government research and industry surveys are a couple of examples. Secondary data makes it possible to carry out longitudinal studies without having to wait an extended time to draw conclusions. BlackDog Advertising recommends collecting and using as much primary data as possible. This is the data that is most relevant and beneficial when making business decisions.
Digging Up The Data
Now that you understand the different types of data you’ll want to review, it’s time to start getting into the numbers. Data collection is vital towards understanding your customers. We’re not saying this information is like looking into a crystal ball, but it does help confirm theories you may have about consumer behaviors or growing trends. That’s why it’s imperative to start listening to and evaluating your data today, to identify the changing needs and wants of tomorrow.
Start by reviewing what you’ve got. Before you can look towards where you’re going, you need to understand where you currently are. Take a look at the primary data from 2018 and 2019 and set data benchmarks. These benchmarks will be the key measuring sticks for the research you will conduct.
Define what needs your company fills in the marketplace.
For example, at BlackDog Advertising we fill the following need: We help companies in many industries increase their revenue exponentially by maximizing their marketing potential with innovative and data-driven marketing strategies, award winning creative, and state-of-the-art technology solutions.
Next, define who your customers are by looking at your Google Analytics & CRM data.
- What are their demographics such as age, gender, location, income level, etc.
- Then review their behavior by examining how much time they spent on certain sections of your website, what source led them there, what and when they purchased, and so forth.
Once you understand the data from previous years, you can move onto collecting the most recent data available. As we mentioned above, it’s ideal to have both primary and secondary data in your back pocket when crunching the numbers. With various access points to this information, it can be tough determining the best route to follow. These are four low cost strategies to collect data that can assist you in your fact finding.
1. Website Google Analytics Data
Your website is the most resourceful tool you have when it comes to data collection. Here you can see who is still actively visiting your site. Your product/service is still top of mind for these customers during the shutdown. Evaluate what defines them by reviewing what sections of the website they are most engaged with, like what products or services they are interested in, so you can find more people like them quickly.
2. Email Survey
People who have signed up to receive your organization’s emails are your most engaged followers because they trust you with personal information. They want to interact with your brand and help you grow. Use this to your advantage and send out an email survey to learn what they want from your company now and after the shutdown is over. It’s important to remember that the data during these uncertain times will be vastly different than the data you collect six months from now. Yet it’s also important to continue to survey your customers every six months to see how opinions change. Use this time to ask your audience questions that help you understand their changing behaviors. This should provide valuable insight when mapping out your future business plans. Here are a few links to some survey software we recommend:
3. Industry Research
The most widely accessible form of secondary data is found through industry research. Universities around the country conduct hundreds of research studies throughout the year, all publicly accessible. It’s also wise to incorporate the data collected through specific research companies. Neilson, Kantar, and your Tourism Development Council are just a few examples.
4. Social Media
Social Media is also a source for data collection. Here you can ask your customers directly for their opinions on any topic and use it to gather information from other organizations in your field, as well as from industry hashtags. However, remember to take this data with a grain of salt as people tend to use social media to amplify their opinions towards certain extremes. Make sure you have a very large sample size when evaluating this data. One very passionate or upset customer opinion does not define your entire customer base.
Five Questions For Evaluating Data
Now that you have all this data on hand, what’s the best way to analyze it? Well, you can start by comparing it to the benchmarks you set. Put the current data up against your benchmarks and look for any similarities or differences. Once you’ve looked at any changes from year to year, you can begin to ask yourself these five questions.
- Is there a shift in who wants my products/services?
- Is there a shift in what type of product or service these customers want?
- Is there a shift in where or how customers want to receive my product/service?
- If your product/service is not currently available, when will they be ready for the product/service again?
- What ways can my company innovate to fill changing needs in the marketplace?
Some of these questions will take time to answer. And with limited resources available, we understand not every problem can be solved overnight. But these answers will help you make informed decisions on where your focus should be moving forward to best serve your customers.
Data will help you identify and target the early adopters faster than your competitors. Which customers will return to the “norm” the quickest and what (potentially new) needs and wants can your company fill for them? Data will allow you, as a business leader, to be able to make more informed decisions for your organization. Let the data guide your decisions now more than ever, because it’s your potential customers telling you what they want in this new world. Hopefully this article will be a useful resource as you begin data collection & evaluation, despite the current challenges of limited resources.
Click below to read the fourth installment of our four part series:
Tools to Relaunch Your Marketing