How to Use Data Analytics to Drive Better Business Insights

It is no secret that data analytics can prove to be exponentially valuable for companies of all shapes and sizes. 61% of marketing decision-makers said they struggled to access or integrate the data they needed last year.

Unfortunately, gaining access to technologies capable of analyzing an abundance of data in a short duration is very difficult. While many companies have the means to record large quantities of data, they are simply unable to process and analyze that information effectively.

 So, what can organizations do to use data analytics to achieve better insights that engage customers and drives sales?

What Can Big Data Achieve?

The key to using big data is understanding what it can help your business achieve. While big data is frequently associated with marketing and e-commerce, it would be a mistake to believe that data is restricted to those small sectors. Businesses across industries can benefit from data in numerous ways with proper analysis enabling a company to stand out from their competition. Such practices may also be used to detect potential errors before they occur or to prevent fraud, particularly within the financial sector.

For e-commerce companies—such as Amazon and Wal-Mart— their strategy is to use data to their advantage. By carefully evaluating the browsing behavior of their users, these companies better understand their shoppers, their habits, and their needs. This information is then put to good use to ensure the business maximizes their profits. The data also gives the company the ability to display products that specific users will be more likely to order and purchase.

What To Understand First

What To Understand First

Before a company begins to collect large amounts of data, it is important to formulate a long-term plan and goal. Storing data can be costly and analyzing the information can be even more so. Therefore, it is pertinent to identify your company’s goals for the data ahead of time. Ask questions such as:

  • What do you wish to achieve from the information? 
  • Do you intend to learn more about your clients, or are you taking precautionary measures to prevent fraudulent behavior? 

Once you have established the purpose of your data, these six steps should help you use data to drive the needs of your business.  

1. Data Collection

Now, you should figure out precisely how your business intends to collect consumer data. The possibilities are nearly endless. Some businesses will rely on data from social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. 

It is also possible to collect information from RFID chip readings and GPS results. Another good idea is collecting transaction information. If you sell goods and services online, collecting such information from your transactions will prove to be very helpful.

2. Evaluate Data Relevance & Accuracy

Next, you need to determine the true value of your data. How was the information collected? Information that has been compiled in a haphazard manner may be inaccurate, full of flaws, and simply worthless. 

Therefore, it is essential that you analyze the true accuracy of your information before spending an enormous amount of money to analyze the data in the first place. This will help you determine whether or not the data will contain any valuable insights. If it does not, collect the data in a more accurate manner before moving forward.

3. Gain Better Insights

Gain Better Insights | How to Use Data Analytics to Drive Better Business Insights

The majority of modern companies already store a sufficient amount of data on a regular basis. In order to gain better insights a number of questions need to be addressed first:

  • How much do you know about your company’s data and collection processes?
  • How frequently is the information updated and where is it stored?
  • Is the information analyzed on a regular basis?
  • Are there any security or confidentiality concerns regarding the stored information?

Gaining answers to these questions will give you an advantage and ensure you better understand your company’s current practices – including compliance with local and international laws. Also, be sure to consult with the team or individual who is responsible for analyzing your company’s data.

4. In-House Capabilities

Believe it or not, storing and analyzing big data can be a huge and expensive process. Great skill and experience is needed to effectively scour through the information and utilize the associated software. Many businesses have failed to add data analysts to their teams, and this puts them a step behind their competitors. At the same time, many will be unable to maintain and manage their own in-house talent. While it may seem like a good idea to dedicate resources solely to data analytics programs, this might ultimately prove to be a costly mistake.

In order to get the most out of your data, it is pertinent to closely correlate data analytics and IT technologies. Avoid compartmentalizing! Instead, try to expand your resources across both sectors. Investments in IT infrastructure should coincide with data analytics technologies and vice versa.

Studies by McKinsey & Co have shown that 40% of companies were only able to boost their profits with complementary and coordinated investments in both.

5. Data Visualization

Data Visualization | How to Use Data Analytics to Drive Better Business Insights

Once you have learned how to collect accurate data, it is time to carve out insights from the information. Visualization is a key aspect of this process as it gives you the ability to represent the information in a more understandable manner. 

In all likelihood, your team will have a few members who are uncomfortable with numbers. In order to guarantee your data is utilized efficiently, you need to display the information in a visually appealing manner.

The utilization of certain tools such as  Google Charts or Datawrapper will make it possible to transform the data into graphs and charts. This is highly recommended. Charts are easily understandable and will help to ensure each member of your team is involved and engaged.

6. Turn Insights into Actions

Having access to big data and being able to analyze that data will not do you a bit of good if you are unable to translate those efforts into successful actions. Truly, obtaining the tools necessary to analyze the data is simply one step in the right direction. Whether the end goal is to increase security or drive profits, it is important that you figure out how to transform the gained knowledge into effective actions.

The CEO should be willing to establish a marketing plan based on insights. If the CEO and other senior executives are not on board, it is absolutely essential that buy-in is established. Additionally, consumer insights should be incorporated into each and every decision-making step at all levels. Whether it’s establishing a new advertising strategy or strategizing elsewhere, it is important to ensure insights are added to the equation. Learn how to utilize this information correctly and your business will benefit tremendously.

MasterCard’s Approach

MasterCard’s Approach | How to Use Data Analytics to Drive Better Business Insights

As one of the largest credit card issuers in the world, MasterCard fully understands the importance of big data. The company has begun to provide clients with access to the data analytics software and technologies needed to fulfill their unique goals. MasterCard now provides businesses with information services known as MasterCard Advisors which give them the ability to make more accurate and worthwhile business decisions in a rapid manner. This informational service relies heavily on real-time transaction information, as well as proprietary analysis to provide businesses with the insights needed to make the right decisions.

MasterCard Advisors offers a handful of benefits to assist companies in various ways. For instance, the service helps businesses with payment consultations and analytics. The services provided can also be enormously beneficial for marketing, enhancing operations and controlling risks. All in all, the goal of the service is to ensure businesses are able to maximize their payments system to ensure maximum profits, decreased risks and a better customer experience. 

Proctor & Gamble and other big corporations have also utilized big data to strengthen their customer insights and for a more efficient decision-making process. MasterCard Advisors have been implemented into the practices of Swedbank, Wells Fargo, Standard Bank, Expedia, and even Videology . The service is versatile and can be beneficial for businesses of all sizes. Nonetheless, it may not be the most suitable option for all businesses.

At the end of the day, business is changing and technology is leading the way. Companies of all shapes and sizes can benefit immensely from engaging in the practice of data collection and analysis. 

By utilizing the information provided, you will be able to configure a unique sales and marketing strategy for your own business. The key is knowing precisely what you wish to achieve with your data, before moving forward.

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Clodagh O'Brien
Content Marketing Executive