There was a time when data was hard to come by. Marketers had to go out, meet and coerce unwilling customers to participate in surveys, focus groups and interviews. Also, such an exercise could cover only a very small sample of people owing to logistical limitations. Then, one day internet happened and changed everything forever. Online data collection and analytics changed the way marketers collected market intelligence and now with the advent of what we call “Big Data”, they are having more than they can possibly handle.
It has been noticed that while most companies invest a lot of resources to collect data, very few actually know how to use them. They generally join the bandwagon following industry experts and conduct market research but it takes a bit more work to actually extract some benefit out of the collected data. While it depends completely on the nature of business as well as the long term objectives, a few best practices always need to be kept in mind.
When we see the amount of traffic flowing into our website, we feel great. We love to explore how people are arriving at the site and how the numbers are growing. However, there is more to analytics than such narcissistic obsessions. The point that eludes a lot of marketers is that the analytics tells you a lot about your customer too. So, such data must be used to understand the habits and behavior of your customers. You can easily figure out the average profile of your buyers by noting their age groups, gender, use of devices (smartphone, PC, tablet), choice of content etc. More personal insights will help you create better strategies for luring your customers and promoting your products.
While website analytics form the core of online data, marketers are gradually waking up to the importance of social data. As everyone is on one social network or the other, there is absolutely no excuse to social data. Earlier it was hard to collect such data but nowadays there are scores of apps and tools available. For instance you can use a tool like Mention to figure out the social buzz around a topic and then formulate your promotional campaign. The key is to dig deep into such data and understand the preferences and needs of your target customer. This data must be used to create specific segments among your social audience and discover new insights about their behavior.
Tools like Google trends offer you a lot of data about the prevailing issues that people are talking about at the moment. You can go deeper and check the search volumes of various keywords in different niches and regions. In order to make the most of it, you can use this tool to gauge the popularity of any topic. For instance, if you are planning to write about something on your official blog, you can do a quick search here to see if people are interested in that particular topic at all or not.
If you are looking for something more complex and advanced, you must consider predictive modelling. It is a technique that analyses behavioral data of the past consumers and tries to predict the purchase decisions of the consumers in the future. For instance, here is an interesting case study of a certain college that used the preferences of its best students from past batches to create targeted online adverts and it saw a huge jump in enrollments for the next batch as the ad reached more number of potential prospects.
From discovery to purchase, the sales cycle has a long funnel with a lot of bottlenecks. The kind of detailed website analytics we have nowadays can provide information about exact points of conversion or for that matter the point of exit. For instance, if some people are clicking on adverts and visiting a website but not making a purchase, we can always see at what point they are leaving the website. For instance, if a lot of people are adding items to the cart but not completing the purchase, this little piece of data can tell you that there is probably a problem in your payment system that needs to be corrected.
Finally, with so much data available for every person on earth, there is no reason not to go for a higher level of personalization. In general customers always like when a brand message is personalized as it makes them feel important and enhances their self-worth. Now, with all the personal details available online, marketers can curate messages according to the personal preferences and tastes of every customer to achieve new levels of engagement as well as satisfaction.