How your business should be gathering data

Data is at the core of most successful businesses today, and this doesn’t appear likely to change anytime soon. As businesses find ways to gather and analyse more information, and do so more efficiently, the data itself only becomes more valuable. In many cases, it is the primary thing that will enable one company to excel beyond its competitors.

But how, in 2020, should your business actually be gathering data? In our examination of ‘The New Data Landscape’ we mentioned that “data is collected in a variety of formats,” and is “streamed in from multiple devices.” We then explored some of the different sources for and types of data that companies collect. But in addition to coming in different formats and via different devices, data is also gathered via different strategies and sources. Given this, we’re identifying some of the ways in which a modern business ought to be gathering data.

Social Listening

“Social listening” can sound somewhat intrusive if you’re not familiar with the concept. Those who are familiar, however, understand that this has become a vital component of modern marketing. B2C defines social listening as a means of gathering data from social media and putting it to use in a strategic way. This can be done in a number of ways (and we would argue it can extend beyond traditional social media to include comment sections and the likes), but it’s always about gathering consumer insights. Such insights can comprise some of the most valuable data your company has at its disposal.

Social Media Interaction

Social listening involves a great deal of monitoring of social media. However, a company today can also gather data through its direct interactions on social media. Where social listening is concerned, the process is more about seeing what people are saying to one another; social media interaction is more about what consumers are saying to the business or its representatives. There typically won’t be as much data in this category, but what data there is can be invaluable.

Payments

It’s fairly common today to suggest that businesses should accept payments in multiple forms and via multiple channels. Usually though, we think of this as a matter of convenience for customers. It’s also a matter of data. A look at the future of commerce by FIS Global points out that more transactions on more channels around the world “builds a data trove,” which in turn can shape insights to drive future actions. This point can be taken in a global sense, such that data related to all modern payments can drive future payment-related initiatives. However, it can also be applied to a given business. Learning how consumers are most likely to pay for your product or service can help you to adjust marketing and sales strategies accordingly.

Surveys & Comments

These are very simple methods that can seem almost outdated in today’s world of automated social listening and data analysis. Nevertheless, there’s certainly nothing wrong with a modern business collecting data via its own surveys and comment sections. Inviting consumers to share their opinions, preferences, praise, and complaints can produce valuable information that can further enrich a company’s total pool of consumer-related data.

Location-Based Advertising

Location-based advertising can be an incredibly valuable thing for businesses of all kinds today. Forbes made note of numerous benefits of this practice, many of which came down to gaining a better understanding of a target audience, and building better relationships with customers. The idea, basically, is to take advantage of technology that can recognize customers where they are and market to them according to certain actions (such as when they browse the company website, when they make a related purchase, etc.). This is very much an active marketing technique — but the very process of engaging with consumer locations and devices is in effect a method of constant data gathering as well.

Even these examples don’t illustrate every way in which a modern company can gather data. There are more to consider, and undoubtedly more to come as people continue to innovate in this area. The examples above should give you some idea, however, of what a data operation can look like today.

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