Nov 28, 2022

8 Ways to Extract Value from Customer Data

When you have more customer data for marketing than you know what to do with, finding effective ways to extract value from this seemingly infinite stream of information can be a real challenge.

With more and more people using all types of devices (all of which are generating more information) it makes sense that most  of the world’s data (44 zettabytes, to be precise) has been created just in the last three years alone. And that’s not just a result of people creating data—it’s because of algorithms and other software that track user behavior and generate its own data about it.

The proliferation of the ‘Internet of Things’ devices is accelerating data generation at warp speed and as a marketer, to get ahead of the pack, knowing where to aim your analytical efforts is vital.  

So how does a business wade through the mountain of customer data for marketing and find digital insights that are useful for improving performance, profit, sales, or other operational factors? We’re going to tell you how.

Here we’re going to look at eight practical ways of extracting value from customer data for marketing, boosting your brand awareness, reputation, and profits in the process. 

1. Accept That Big Data Is Here to Stay

Big data, looked at without refinement, can seem like a huge, unwieldy mess of random information. aken in that context, there’s a real temptation to simply ignore the information before you. But, ignoring big data is ignoring a key opportunity. Data science, for example, is a growing profession because of the value that comes from being able to screen, filter, and interpret what is useful in big data.

People who choose to ignore big data because of its volume do so at the peril of their own business. The first step to extracting valuable customer data is to acknowledge that good data is “in there somewhere” and to have a willingness to mine through it.

View: Our definitive data driven marketing webinar for inspirational tips and inspiration on the subject. 

2. Invest in Analytics

The key factor to making use of customer data for marketing, once you acknowledge its potential, is to have the right tools and talent to wade into the sea of information and come back with data that makes the most sense to you.

You should seriously consider allocating some operational budget to analytics. Bigger companies may have entire departments dedicated to this job, but while that scale gets results, that’s not the only way to achieve useful analytics. Even small to medium enterprises can find an analytics solution that works for their size and budgetary requirements.

3. Use Historical Data

When it comes to extracting real value from customer data for marketing, people often think of metrics or digital insights as a way to help predict the future, but some of the most important lessons that data teaches us have come from the past. A good long-term plan to use data from customer information is analyzing historical data.

Businesses should always be aware that some of the best data available are the sets that are gathered over time. For example, you should not be ignoring sales data from the last 5 to 10 years, even if it’s not part of your current digital infrastructure.

Use document management systems and archive this data if you must, but analytics put to the task of discerning past customer sales data can reveal incredibly useful information about customer behavior and buying patterns. If you have existing data, even if it’s not digital, digitize it and make sure your software can use it. Under the right circumstances, it may be far more helpful than you imagine.

Read: Data visualization: tools and tips for digital marketers for insider advice on squeezing maximum value from your customer insights.

4. Apply Customer Data To Operations

Another effective way of gaining value from customer data for marketing is applying insight to your internal operations. Extracting data from customer behavior and other datasets can obviously help to increase sales, but don’t forget that another way to make more money is to spend less. In addition to increasing sales, the right type of customer data can also help to increase efficiency and reduce waste, both of which can increase your revenue.

For example, your customer data is showing that more and more of your marketing response is coming from YouTube and Instagram, and less of it is coming from Facebook. This may be an indicator that for your product and target market, you can spend less—or cut down entirely—on your Facebook spending and devote more effort to the platforms that are getting good results. Let customer behavior data help to streamline the way you run your business.

Read: Our guide to social media demographics for a deeper dive into the needs and expectations of digitally native consumers.

5. Analyze Client Churn

“Client churn” is a term used to describe the turnover rate of customers or clients from being regular purchasers to taking their business elsewhere. It is another area where big data, combined with analytics, can make a big difference.

This process is about looking at your user data and arriving at conclusions that help explain why some customers remain loyal, and others support your business for a specific period and then leave. You may find relationships between drops in customer retention and when you stop supplying certain products. Alternatively, you may find certain sales or times of the year give you a big spike in customers, but they don’t stick around afterwards.

Analytics focused on the specifics of your client churn can help you understand how to retain more customers and thus enjoy more consistent profits.

6. Social Media Is Data Too

Social media accounts for a colossal share of the world’s overall data. To gain real value from customer data for marketing, analyzing social media and using the unfiltered, unsorted data that appears there can prove enormously helpful. Digging deeper into social media data will not only help you find out where your market is, but also in what a market wants or needs.

It’s important to recognize that content that appears on social media can be symptomatic indicators of other trends and factors to capitalize on, for the businesses that are paying attention. So, don’t just view social media as a channel to reach out to your market, understand that it can also be a window into what that market may be looking for, and you can get ahead of the curve to provide it for them. Do not ignore trends, take advantage of them.

Read: Our guide to five social media trends to keep your finger well and truly on the pulse.

7. Data Should Be Accessible

Data access should be shared across your company. While it is understood that knowing something your competitors don’t can be a valuable edge, this does not apply within your business itself. If you know something about a customer’s needs or behavior, but someone who could actually use that data does not have access to the same information, that hurts your company.

To earn the best possible return on investment (ROI) from your customer data for marketing, you should always ensure that digital insights are shared and accessible for those who need it. Someone who handles customer support, for example, should be able to share a customer’s complaint and specific problem with any department that might actually be able to help solve the problem or provide deeper insight into the issue.

Information is only useful when people who know what to do with it can get to it. For instance, if your finance department is locked out of certain financial data, that’s a layer of interference making things less efficient.

Read: Data privacy for digital marketers to make sure your digital information is accessible, safe, and compliant.

8. Don’t Be Afraid to Automate

Did you know? Almost 90% of agencies say their marketing automation strategy is successful

Contrary to popular fear-mongering, automation does not automatically mean that a human’s job is on the line and that someone is about to get laid off. Automation is not just applied to physical, mechanical activities, but it can also be applied to data analytics.

Some of the most useful insights you can get about customers will not come from doing a line-by-line analysis of each bit of incoming data, but instead from trusting software and algorithms to sift through the data and find only what is relevant to you and your needs.

Automation can even be used to free up your human resources for more analytical activities that are better suited to their talents. Processing payments, for example, is largely a rote, mechanical process that software can assist with. With fewer routine operations to deal with during the day, your human staff can concentrate on more ambitious, innovative activities.

Read: What are the best AI marketing automation tools? to get the most of your customer data and promotional strategies.

Updated 2023

Dig deeper into Customer Data for Marketing

More data is being generated on a daily basis than any human or group of humans can feasibly keep tabs on. But, there is also a wealth of useful, actionable insight hidden in the depths of that data. It is only through strategy and sensibility when choosing the right data, analyzing it, and putting it to the correct use that a business can improve its revenue.

To dig deeper into the world of consumer analytics and learn how to transform customer-based information into actionable insight, enroll in our industry-recognized web and data analytics course.

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