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6 ways to gain a competitive edge from data

It’s easy to see nothing but money leaking out of your business when first investing in data. The question is, when does the money start rolling in to justify the investment?

We leave a trail of ‘digital exhaust’ data when we use laptops, tablets, mobile phones or cards on the move. Throw in ‘traditional’ data collected from the electoral roll, guarantee cards, surveys and marketing activities and a full-colour picture of our lives soon emerges.

On its own, data is inert. Its strategic strength comes from having the right people in the right place. Mathematicians have been described as the storytellers of the future, but they must be partnered with those who understand the chosen market.

Here are 6 steps for gaining a competitive advantage from data:
1. Push for better not bigger data. Understand which data are real triggers and drivers for your business. How complete are your data sources? Are they secure and current or are there gaps in your understanding?

2. What’s the data telling you? Ask where the potential value lies. Invite peers from all areas to provide feedback on findings. It may be the first time leaders have come together.

3. Build a business case. Analysing behaviour can help you to tailor the experience of visitors to your websites. Think about personalising messages from call centres. Ensure mobile phone copy is short. Now run a three-month test. What is the data telling you? What if you did it for everybody?

4. Show, don’t tell. Visualise what data can do for your business customers. In this age of video and social media, a short film will prove far more effective than a standard PowerPoint presentation if you want to illustrate how data powers customer engagement with your brand.

5. Understand and plan for change. Data is strategic; it’s the cements that pulls an organisation together. Consider what this could mean for your organisation and be prepared to make improvements.

6. Start small, with a minimal approach to new technology. Say no to massive technology projects that will reap rewards 3 years down the line.

Making data a strategic strength is thrilling and it’s the future of your business. Don’t leave it to marketing. Get involved and take the lead.

By DMA guest blogger Alan Thorpe, Former Business Development Director, Indicia

This blog first appeared on the Indicia website

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