5 undeniable reasons to invest in data before it’s too late

A Gartner survey revealed that “more than 75% of companies are investing or planning to invest in big data in the next two years.”

Companies see the value in data, including enhanced customer experiences, streamlined processes, and targeted marketing. It’s a high-return investment that keeps businesses competitive in their sectors.

However, executives and managers get bogged down with all the possibilities. So, they tend to take no action. And without momentum, teams fall victim to their competitors.

That’s why it’s vital for your business to push past analysis paralysis and become early adopters in your industry.

Here are five undeniable reasons your company should invest in data today:

Identify market trends

Leverage data to predict changes in the marketplace.

By educating your team with data-driven information, your company can forge new partnerships or introduce new products to customers. For example, marketing research may uncover a new profitable niche that requires the same resources you’re employing now.

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 10.30.51 AM“Data is becoming an essential ingredient in business success across all functional areas—not just marketing—as companies seek to turn insights into enhanced performance, greater productivity, better customer service, etc.,”

– Brent Dykes (@analyticshero), Forbes contributor

Data can reveal changes in customer needs, social behaviors, and purchasing habits. This gives your company the chance to develop specific marketing campaigns. Focus on activities like customer onboarding, functionality, customer support, and limited-time guarantees.

Moreover, detect potential obstacles with data. Forecast future risks that may hinder your business, and improve your strategy based on those findings.

However, don’t over analyze. Using your instincts is just as important as the numbers.

Changes in the market affect your bottom line. Therefore, it’s essential to track the trends.

Monitor the competition

Discover insights on how to gain a competitive advantage. Data lets your team observe how your competitors influence consumers.

Monitor your competitor’s social media networks. Learn how they engage with their followers and how frequently they call on influencers for brand support.

You also can learn what content gets the most likes, shares, and user engagement. Then, use that data to build a strategy to gain more social influence.

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 10.55.14 AM“Each brand has its own strategies, goals, and execution tactics but you all are striving to reach and engage with the same consumer base. When you monitor and measure the effectiveness of campaigns run by other brands the data you gather can help drive your decision making without the expense and risk of trying them all yourself.”

– Adam Schoenfeld (@schoeny), Co-founder and CEO at Simply Measured

And go beyond comparison in your monitoring. Look for ways to innovate. As your team collects intel, seek ways to do things differently. Brainstorm how your business can inspire customers, not just sell to them.

In some cases, you also may find ways to collaborate with your competitors. Pay attention to opportunities to co-create a better market solution.

Personalize the customer experience

With the help of data, your company can customize the shopper’s experience.

Yet, the major challenge with personalization is “gaining insight quickly enough (40%), having enough data (39%), and inaccurate data (38%).” Using tools, like Import.io, can alleviate that issue with system checks and quality reports.

Once you acquire that data, build an integrated marketing approach. Connect your brand’s personality across all content channels‐owned, earned, and paid. So, no matter where shoppers see your product they will begin to associate it with your brand.

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 10.55.36 AM“Look at your quantitative data to hypothesize what could be happening, conduct experiments and hold interviews. Once there’s a clear pattern for why these customers aren’t returning, solve the problem in your product, and then reach out to past customers with new information to get them back onboard.”

– Sara Vera (@SaraVeraSF), Data Scientist at Insightly

All your techniques won’t result in the expected ROI. To gain a better understanding, analyze your conversion paths.

Improve internal operations

Streamline the effectiveness of your company’s workflow. Use data to find gaps in processes, communication, and technologies.

Create a strategy that automates reports, so that your team can perform the most important tasks.

c5e990d01d26074e844d779d254be9f7“Focusing on journey analytics, not reporting. Companies tend to focus on generating reports from their data about what has happened. Much greater value, however, comes from analyzing data to pinpoint cause and effect and make predictions.”

– Harald Fanderl (@HaraldFlanerl), Partner at McKinsey & Company

Data can optimize your business processes. Learn where to eliminate ineffective procedures or time-consuming duties. For example, instead of sending countless emails amongst team members, try the collaboration tool Slack.

Revamping how you conduct business will improve customer satisfaction. From refund requests to live demos to customer complaints, data offers guidance on how to work smarter in less time.

Ultimately, this leads to more loyal customers and greater returns.

Prevent potential fraud

Data security is a major concern for most companies.

Research shows that “the average cost of a corporate data breach increased 15 percent in the last year to $3.5 million.”

Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 10.56.05 AM“Big data analytics is the most powerful weapon in this fight because it allows organizations to combine, integrate, and analyze all of their data at once — regardless of source, type, size, or format — and identify patterns needed to address fraud and compliance-related challenges.”

– Stefan Groschupf (@StefanGroschupf), CEO of Datameer

Develop predictive models based on real-time data. Then, your team can foresee risky scenarios. That puts your company on the front foot to identify suspected fraudulent claims. With historical data, you can look for patterns where your business can minimize fraud.

Furthermore, create policies and procedures on how to secure your own data. Look into your company’s data storage options, too. These precautions will help circumvent future lawsuits.

Invest in data

We know that data holds the key to new opportunities. But are we taking advantage of all the possibilities?

Use data to identify market trends and keep a close eye on the competition. Improve the customer experience through personalization. And analyze data to streamline your internal operations.

Take action. Invest in data.

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