The Most Important Data for your Business

In our three-part Marketing Mix blog series we released in June, we reinforced the importance of re-evaluating your marketing plan frequently. Considering the recent pandemic and changes in consumer behavior this is even more important. One aspect of this that many businesses find daunting is data. How to find it and what to do with it. We can help!

Data. Is there a word we hear more these days when talking about business? I can’t think of one. Okay, maybe money, sales, prices, costs, customer experience, but arguably those are much easier to understand. Luckily, they all involve data. And with all this data available with the rise of digital, how does a business decide what’s important to track and follow?

Let’s assume you’re already tracking revenue and costs. That’s the obvious data to track and probably easy for you to get. After that you need to drill down deeper in these areas and ask yourself a few questions:

1) Where is my revenue coming from?
Which customers buy my product or service most? Or least? Try to collect demographic information like age, gender, marital status, income level, location (where they live) and get it into a software tool (more on this below) to store and analyze it. The better you know your customer, and have that data available, the better you can analyze it to determine where your revenue is coming from and how to reach potential new customers as well as increase incremental sales to existing customers.

2) Could I manage my costs more effectively by tracking key cost data?
All businesses are going to have expenses like employee cost, space rental, your time (don’t forget this one), any products or services you need to deliver your product or service and more. The better you can track your costs the easier it will be to figure out where you can cut some cost out of your business. Many businesses have no idea the total cost of delivering their product or service. Don’t be one of those. You’re leaving money on the table.

3) What promotional channels are performing best for me to grow my business?
Digital channels have given us a lot more data and mining that data for “information” is easier than ever. There are many free and inexpensive tools you can use to know how your website is doing or your social media presence. It’s important to look at the individual channel as well as looking at them holistically so you have a good overall view of your advertising and marketing spend. Online channels like Google Ads can quickly drain your budget with little return if you’re not careful. Directwest has experts to help and a service to manage Google for you if you’re not comfortable doing it on your own.

By now you’re probably wondering how best to store, retrieve and analyze all this data. The answer is very dependent on your comfort level with tools like QuickBooks or other tools you might already be using. Many software and point-of-sale (POS) systems have reporting built in making the analysis much easier, faster and often real-time. Check your existing software systems before adding anything new. If you’ve never looked at your Facebook, Twitter or other social channel data then do that now. They all have reporting tools built in that makes it easy to see some very useful insights.

It’s likely that in 2020 your data is going to keep growing whether you like it or not and whether you use it or not. You can be sure that a competitor in your industry is already looking at their business data to help them grow. If you’re not comfortable analyzing your own data, Directwest has very experienced Media Advisors who can help. They can use your data to build out a marketing mix that will help effectively and efficiently grow your business.

2020 has been a surreal year. If you’re feeling like you need to regain some control, use your business data to get started. Dig into your data. Collect it, figure out if you’re missing any and start to capture it. Make time to fully understand the features of the technology tools you’re using to keep growing your business for the next decade.

– Andrew Clarke is Vice President of Brand & Digital Platforms at Directwest

July 15th, 2020

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