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03/07/2019

Why data is essential for marketing and how your business could use it

Becoming data focussed is getting more and more important in the digital age because it allows you vastly to improve your marketing efforts, fine tune and improve your users’ experience and ultimately, grow more quickly as a business. It’s something the titans of the internet have been doing for many years, and there are lessons you can take from them to make your business more data oriented. 

The value of data

In January 2018, the sum of Google’s tangible assets was $61.3 million. Samsung’s tangible assets were more than double that figure at $158.5 million, yet Google’s market capitalisation (price per share x number of shares) was more than double Samsung’s at $729.2 million compared to $309.8 million. How are Google able to hold such value compared to a company like Samsung when they have such relatively low-valued assets? The answer lies in data.

Utilising data: Examples from Facebook and Google

Collecting data on their customers is one key method that the big companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon have been able exploit to stay ahead of the game. However simply collecting data doesn’t hold any value – it’s how they utilise their data to create intelligent platforms which improve customer experience that creates the magic.

For example, both Google and Facebook have been able to create incredibly effective ad networks by improving the precision of their consumer targeting by using their collected data. This benefits all parties involved: the advertisers using the networks make more cost-effective sales; the consumers are shown relevant ads; and the increased consumption by both consumers and advertisers means Facebook and Google make more money, collect more data and further improve their operations.

How collecting data can benefit your small- or medium-sized business

It may be easy for the titans of the business world to collect and utilise data, but how can small- and medium-sized businesses do anything meaningful with the information they gather?

Data is important because it can help refine your marketing strategies and business operations. The ultimate purpose is to give you empirical evidence to back-up your decisions so that you know they will benefit your business, rather than simply going with your gut feelings.

Here are some actions your business can use with the data you collect:

  • Buyer persona: Potentially the biggest reason for your business to collect data on clients and customers is so that you can get an idea of who is likely to buy your product or service and who isn’t. This lets you create a buyer persona – a multi-dimensional profile of people who are likely to consume your product or service. This allows you to fine tune your marketing efforts to target your ideal customers more precisely and create a more cost-efficient overall marketing strategy. This can be done by simply talking to your customers when they visit you in store, storing customer data in a CRM system if you run an e-commerce website or asking them to fill out an optional survey upon completion of purchase.
  • Email marketing: Viewing your email marketing reports can give you insights into how your target demographic respond to different messaging. For example, you may find that your more formally written newsletters get more clicks than your informal ones, allowing you to adapt your future efforts to a more effective strategy.
  • Website data: You can monitor your online data through analytics software such as Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics. These applications give you data that can show which demographics spend most time on your website, where your users come from, what pages they visit the most and spend the most time on, which marketing channels acquire the most visitors and much, much more. This data can allow you to adapt what you invest your time and money into so that your website is set up to acquire and convert the maximum number of visitors.

Being careful under GDPR

Collecting personal data on your customers and prospects can be a great way to progress your business but misusing it could have business-ruining consequences. Legislation is now very strict under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force in May last year, and you could incur a hefty fine if you’re caught breaching the terms. 

As you collect data, make sure you also collect and document consents from your customers to ensure that you don’t come under fire from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). It’s also important that you protect your data with secure IT solutions so that hackers can’t get hold of the information.

Using data to fine tune your marketing efforts is essential in the digital age if you want to grow your business. But make sure that the data you collect is used correctly to avoid coming under fire from the GDPR. 

To find out more about how Sharp Minds Communications can help with your marketing, email communications@sharpminds.agency 

 Based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, Sharp Minds offers brand development, digital marketing, offline marketing and public relations to businesses across Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Greater London. You can see what our customers say about us here.

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