From Datasets to Insights: How to Make the Most of Your Customer Data
The Father of Computing, Charles Babbage said,
"Errors using inadequate data are much less than those using no data at all."
Customer data is a goldmine of insights; some call it the oil of the 21st century. Businesses with the best customer data are miles ahead of their competitors in today's fast-paced and highly competitive business landscape. They gain a comprehensive view of their customers by collecting, unifying, activating, and analyzing customer data.
Understanding customers has never been more important than now. In the post-Covid world, where we are witnessing an increasing adoption of technology, a solid customer database can turbocharge your marketing efforts, and customer experiences, ultimately increasing customer loyalty and revenue. Once you have the customers' datasets, you can deliver personalized marketing campaigns, enhance customer service and unlock business success.
The top customer data platform companies lead the charge and empower their clients with real-time insights, enabling data-driven decision-making and streamlining marketing automation. Market Digits MR, in a recent report, stated that
The market value of Customer Data Platforms (CDP) would more than quadruple to $10.3 billion by 2025 from the $2.4 billion it was in 2020.
Here we look at how you can unlock business opportunities using customer data.
Collecting Customer Data: Sowing the Seeds of Success
Collecting customer data is the first step in the journey towards gaining a deeper understanding of your customers. It involves gathering and analyzing data on the customer journey. You develop a deeper understanding of customer behavior and preferences that streamlines product development, marketing strategies, and sales tactics. Here are some common customer data sources your business must tap into.
It should be your first port of call for gathering customer data. It can collect a wealth of data about their website visitors, such as their location, device type, and browsing behavior. You can rely on tools such as Google Analytics to track traffic and engagement on the website.
At 4.76 billion, the social media user base accounts for nearly 60% of the global population.
While the actual numbers may be lower, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram provide a wealth of data about users' demographics, interests, and behaviors. Social listening tools can help businesses monitor brand mentions and track customer sentiment.
Traditional means of customer data collection are still relevant while the mode is online. Surveys, reviews, and customer service interactions can all provide valuable insights into customers' needs and preferences. You can use tools like Qualtrics or SurveyMonkey to gather feedback and analyze results.
Unifying Customer Data: Turning It Into a Goldmine
Mark Twain famously said,
"Data is like garbage. You'd better know what you are going to do with it before you collect it."
Collecting customer data from various sources is the first step in gaining a comprehensive view of customers. To truly understand customers, businesses must unify customer data from different sources into a holistic view. Here's why unifying customer data is so important:
- Provides a Comprehensive View: Unifying customer data from different sources allows businesses to see the complete picture of their customers. By combining data from sources such as website analytics, social media, and customer feedback, businesses can better understand customers' needs, preferences, and behaviors.
- Enables Personalization: With a comprehensive view of customers, businesses can personalize marketing campaigns, products, and services to meet customers' individual needs and preferences.
- Improves Customer Experiences: By understanding customers more deeply, businesses can provide a better customer experience, increasing loyalty and revenue.
To unify customer data, you must use data integration and cleaning techniques. Let's look at what these are and how they work -
Data integration involves merging data from various sources to create a unified and cohesive perspective. This process involves various techniques, including data warehousing, extract-transform-load (ETL), and application programming interfaces (APIs). Data integration aims to provide a complete and accurate view of an organization's data. It can be a complex process, as it often involves dealing with data stored in different formats and systems with varying levels of quality and consistency.
Data cleaning is an important step in the data preparation process, as it ensures that the data is accurate, consistent, and complete. Also known as data cleansing, it is the process of identifying and correcting errors and inconsistencies in data. This process involves various techniques, such as removing duplicate records, correcting misspellings and typos, and handling missing or incomplete data. Without proper data cleaning, analysis and decision-making based on the data can lead to incorrect conclusions or actions.
Activating Customer Data: Putting Data into Action
By this stage, you have collected and unified the data. It is similar to all the cutting and dicing you do while cooking! You have all the ingredients ready, and now it's time to turn them into an irresistible platter. You must activate the customer data by using it to enhance marketing efforts and customer experiences. Let's look at the benefits of activating the customer customers dataset.
- Personalization: No customer likes receiving a generic message about your products. They want to know how it addresses their pain points. Using customer data to personalize marketing campaigns and customer experiences can improve engagement and strengthen relationships.
- Optimization: By analyzing customer data, your organization can identify areas to optimize its marketing efforts and customer experiences for better results. It lets you identify customers at risk of churning and proactively reach out to them to address any issues they might be having with better marketing messages.
- Innovation: By leveraging customer data, businesses can identify new opportunities for innovation and differentiate themselves from competitors. For instance, a certain product may lose relevance with the change in customer aspirations, and optimizing its features can increase sales.
Analyzing Customer Data: Making Meaning Out of It
Jim Bergeso, an ace in data science said,
"Data will talk to you if you're willing to listen."
You have to listen to what the data is saying once you have collected, unified, and activated customer data. By analyzing customer data, you can gain valuable insights that inform marketing efforts, improve customer experiences, and increase customer loyalty. Here are some techniques for analyzing customer data:
Customer Journey Analysis
Customer journey analysis involves mapping out the various touchpoints a customer has with a business and analyzing their behavior at each stage. By analyzing customer journey data, businesses can identify areas where customers are dropping off or experiencing friction and make improvements to improve the customer experience.
You must carry out a holistic study of the data on customer churn. Churn analysis involves analyzing customer data to identify customers at risk of churning or leaving you. By identifying these customers and understanding their behavior, you can take steps to retain them and prevent churn. For example, if a customer is unwilling to extend your SaaS tool's subscription for the lack of a simple feature, adding it can prevent churn.
Segmentation analysis involves dividing customers into segments based on demographics, behavior, or preferences. Your business can identify patterns and trends that inform marketing efforts and customer experiences by analyzing these segments.
Customer Data Platforms: Your Tools to Success
To gain insights from customer data, you must use data visualization tools and dashboards. These tools allow businesses to visualize data intuitively and easily, making it easier to identify patterns and trends. Here are the most popular data visualization tools and dashboards:
Tableau is a data visualization tool that allows businesses to create interactive dashboards and reports. With its drag-and-drop interface and wide range of customizable charts and graphs, Tableau makes it easy to explore data and gain insights. Tableau also offers powerful data connection and preparation features, allowing users to connect to various data sources and transform raw data into usable insights.
Google Data Studio
We are all familiar with Google Analytics, and Google Data Studio shares a lot of commonalities. Data Studio is a free tool that allows businesses to create customizable dashboards using data from various sources. It offers various customization options, including adding custom charts and graphs, applying filters and segments, and setting up alerts for data changes.
It is a business analytics service by Microsoft. It provides interactive visualizations and business intelligence capabilities with an interface simple enough for end users to create reports and dashboards. With its easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface and powerful data modeling capabilities, Power BI lets users quickly connect to various data sources, clean and transform the data, and create custom visualizations and reports.
Best Practices for Using Customer Data: Doing It Right
Using customer data effectively and ethically is crucial for businesses looking to improve their marketing efforts and customer experiences. Owning customer data comes with responsibility, and your business must adopt best practices to avoid misuse.
Recall the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica saga when social media allowed the UK-based political consulting firm to misuse the data of 87 million Facebook users for political campaigns. As a fallout, Facebook had to pay a fine of $5 billion to the Federal Trade Commission, and Cambridge Analytica went bankrupt. To avoid a similar fate for your business, adopt the following best practices. -
- Be Transparent: When collecting customer data, be transparent about what data you're collecting, how you'll use it, and who you'll share it with. It helps build customer trust and ensures they know how you intend to use the data.
- Collect Data Ethically: When collecting customer data, ensure you do so ethically. Avoid using deceptive practices or collecting sensitive information without consent. Remember that the means are as important as the goal.
- Stick To Intended Purpose: Only collect data relevant to your business goals, and don't use it for any other purpose without customers' consent. Doing so can invite legal trouble and hurt your reputation in the long run.
- Improve The Customer Experience: Use customer data to personalize marketing campaigns, improve customer service, and create a better overall customer experience. Your customers must see incentives to share their data.
- Ensure Data Security and Privacy: Protect customer data by implementing strong data security and privacy measures. Invest in secure networks, encryption, and access controls, and under no circumstances make any compromises.
- Obtain Consent: When collecting customer data, obtain customer consent. You must clearly and concisely explain how you plan to use their data and allow them to opt out. The Opt-out options should be available to the customers throughout their journey.
- Follow Regulations: Ensure you follow relevant regulations regarding collecting, using, and storing customer data. Your data management strategies must adhere to the GDPR, CCPA, and other local data privacy legislations.
- Review And Update Policies: Regularly review and update your data collection and privacy policies to ensure they're up-to-date and compliant with any new regulations or changes in data practices.
Case Studies: Learn It From the Giants
It is important to learn from the giants how they collect customer data and use it to power their growth. Let's examine three case studies on how big businesses have used customer data to personalize experiences and gain a stronger foothold.
Netflix is known for its personalized recommendations, and it achieves this through data collection and analysis. The platform tracks what viewers watch, how long they watch, what they search for, and what they rate. With this data, Netflix's algorithms can create tailored recommendations for each viewer, which increases the likelihood that they'll continue to watch and subscribe to the service.
Watch this Netflix data analytics case study
Amazon's recommendation engine is another example of leveraging customer data to create a personalized experience. It improves the customer experience and increases the likelihood of additional purchases. By tracking customer purchases, searches, and browsing behavior, Amazon can suggest products likely to appeal to each customer.
Watch this video on Inside Amazon's Smart Warehouse
Starbucks uses customer data to personalize its marketing efforts. By tracking customer purchases and preferences, the coffee giant can create targeted promotions and offers tailored to each customer's tastes. For example, if customers frequently order a particular type of drink, they might receive a promotion for that item or a related product.
Learn How Starbucks Uses Data
As we wind up, we can say that leveraging customer data is essential for gaining a competitive edge in today's data-driven business landscape. However, simply collecting data is not enough - businesses must also ensure that the data is accurate, complete, and relevant. Data preparation, cleaning, and integration are essential for deriving meaningful insights from customer data.
If you wish to leverage customer data and understand the customer journey in its entirety, we can help. At Growth Natives, we can implement tailored data collection, management, and analytics strategies for your business to help you engage your customers actively and earn their loyalty. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our toll-free number +1 855-693-4769 to explore the possibilities.
You should use customer data to improve your products and services. It also helps personalize marketing campaigns and improve customer experience.
Collect customer data from various sources, such as your website, sales records, customer feedback, and social media. Organize and structure data from various sources into a database.
Collecting customer data can help you gain insights into customer behavior, preferences, and needs, allowing them to make informed decisions and deliver personalized experiences.
Buying customer data violates privacy laws and damages the trust between businesses and their customers. It’s important to collect customer data through ethical and legal means.
Store customer data on a customer relationship management (CRM) system, a customer data platform (CDP), or a data warehouse, depending on the specific needs and requirements of your business.