Data is everywhere. Data is in everything we do. Data is created in every choice we make, actions we complete, and in the products we sell. Stand up, calories are burned. The data may not be collected and stored, but it happened. Drive to work; there is the data on your:
- Distance Driven
- Time Driven
- Engine Temp
While you may not look at all of that data, it’s there. It was created. It exists. We are generating more data now than ever before in the history of the world. This rate of data creation is accelerating as well, we continually increase the amount of data we create each year. On average, Google processes more than 40,000 searches every second of the day! From these searches, data is collected about:
- What was searched for
- Where it was searched
- Who was searching for it
Data is everywhere. And data is power…if you use it.
In business, decisions can be made in a few different ways. First, decisions can be driven based on intuition and observation alone. These decisions, while not always wrong, are statistically more likely to fail when compare to data-driven decision making. This second form of decision making, as the name entails, is the process of using intelligence gathered from hard data to form decisions that are supported by the data. For example, if you want to save money on your daily commute, should you drive your lifted off-road vehicle with over-sized tires or your Prius? A simple examination of the hard data (the average MPG of each car) will show us driving the less flashy Prius will be more economical.
Good data-driven decision making goes further than a single data point though. What if your commute requires you to travel off-road to a job site, through rugged terrain? While the Prius may get better MPG than your off-road vehicle, the cost of repairs, new tires, and other maintenance issues that will stem from taking a Prius off-road need to be considered. In this scenario, it will probably be cheaper to drive the vehicle more suited to the terrain.
As businesses look to incorporate more data into their decision-making processes, it’s important to know what data needs to be collected and analyzed and what insights you are looking for. Regarding finding new customers, start with what you know about your current clientele. Do you have their names? Contact info? Purchase history? Do they shop online or in stores? Do they respond to ads? Coupons? The more you know about your customers, the better able you are to identify their needs and provide solutions.
One tool that is valuable in learning more about your customers is a Customer Profile Report. This is a tool we use at my company all the time. This report takes all of the data from a customer file and creates data visualizations to help identify commonalities that exist in the data. Once these commonalities are identified by thorough analysis, we can help our clients make the right choices in selecting targeting demographics and crafting effective marketing messaging. This approach has led to incredible results and growth for many of our clients and is the reason for a lot of the success we’ve seen.
Without data, decision making becomes an educated guess at best. While even the best data analysis may still require you to gamble, guess, and take risks at times, statistically your decisions will be more successful than if you ignore the data that is all around you. Remember, data is everywhere. Data is power…if you use it.