Data is important to any size business. However, data also causes the biggest challenges for businesses. Small businesses face with limited data availability, while large businesses face with data overload. Where there are challenges there are also opportunities. Here are just some ways you can turn your data into your biggest asset and create a competitive advantage.

  • Customer Data – Keeping track of your customer’s is key to not only upselling but also to improve marketing. What data should you be collecting?

Geographic information of where your customers are located can help you identify trends and help only advertise in areas where you have high concentration of customers. You can also start to think about expending to new locations.

If you are using Facebook for your marketing or social sign in, you may be able to generate more data from your customers such as: age, gender, household income and so on. This demographic or even psychographic data can help you not only improve your target market but also help with marketing message. An example, if you are selling high end pet products you may realize that seniors are spending more money. Therefore, you may decide to blog about topics that interests that group specifically. Using the same example, you may realize that seniors are buying only a few products, therefore you can maximize your revenue by bringing similar or complementary products to your website. You can then use this data and segment your email list differently.

When collecting customer data make sure you do not have duplicates, you should tie this data to product information and if an email has been unsubscribed or bounced, you should make a note of it in your database. For companies, with large historical data it can be a good idea to get your data cleaning in order to maximize your marketing.

  • Product Information – While your products maybe organized well on your website or Amazon, it may not be so in the backend. Having proper categories, product attributes, profit margin as well as sales information can really help your business.

Analyzing your product information by slicing and dicing data can be a real game changer regardless of the size of the business. Consider the following example. You are a dog toy retailer and you sell a wide Varity of products from simple tennis balls to plush toys and puzzles for dogs. By just looking at each toy’s sales you may identify products that are doing well and not so well. However, if you were to break out the attributes such as size, color, material etc… You may find that regardless of the toy type, blue seems to be not only the best-selling products but more importantly have the best reviews. This may not surprise some dog owners as dogs only see a few colors such as blue and yellow. Therefore, your strategy may include putting emphasis on blue toys and putting other colors on sale to try to improve inventory.

This is just one type of example of what you insights you may find by analyzing your product information. The key to good analysis is to have accurate and complete data. It is a good idea to audit your data prior to doing any big scale analysis in order not to miss those insights.

  • Website and Marketing Performance – If you are not analyzing your website and marketing performance already you should start and soon! For those that are keeping track of website metrics as well as their marketing activities, it could be helpful to document all finds in one place. While monitoring the trend of activities and traffic is helpful, by putting all your testing and marketing activity in one area can help create a road map for the future. Not sure what it means? Here is an example:

If you keep track of all your blogs and categorize each blog post per type such as “how to”, “top 10”, and so on you may realize that some blog posts with How to, do the best. So that is what you blog about going forward.

For your digital marketing ads, you can categorize your search terms, your ad types and analyze headline 1, headline 2 and description separately to come up with the best combinations and additional tests.

Promotional data can be analyzed using the messaging: “50% off” vs. “Free Shipment”, if it makes sense to run a promotion on a category, site wide or just one product and so on.

For website, if you have tested different aspects of your website it maybe beneficial to analyze different aspects. Color changes, page categories, item’s featured and so on.

The more data you collect the easier it is to see what works or what does not. However, the potential pitfall is to do analysis on small amounts of data and therefore making the wrong conclusion. If you do have limited amount of data try to look at data at a higher level and only drill down if you have the data available.

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