Data Uses and Issues

What is Data?

Data is pretty simple really, it's just a collection of information which could be on any part of your business, it may be financial data, contact information, performance data, product data, market data, and the list goes on.

It's What You do with it that counts!

Data can be collected or not.  If it is not currently collected the first step is to determine what's required and then the best way to collect and store the data.  If data is stored in some form it is only going to be useful if you are able to analyse, sort and process that data, to make it useful.

Making the data useful is about understanding what data you have, or could have, and then how you can make use of this to benefit your company or help potential clients.

On a number of occasions I have sat down with clients to initiate the collection of more data so we can use the data to measure performance of a campaign.  We have implemented website questionnaires to find out where people heard about the site so we can use this to monitor ad spend.  Similarly you can monitor small apps and how often they are deployed on your site as a guide to ad spend over time.  I have also made use of market research data to then determine the impact of campaigns across various demographics.

Sometimes Geographical display of data can be used to see how a targeted advertisement in one area can be used to work out coverage maps.  I have used this to effect for radio and leaflet advertising.

Contact data is another key area that is often underused. Companies will have lots of data on their clients but do not use this to keep a regular communications channel open, giving customers updates on news and new products.  Not communication constantly with clients may mean that companies are underselling to those clients because they just don't know you sold those products or could help them in that way.  I have used this approach many times to then deliver email campaigns or direct postal campaigns.

Internally focussed data is useful for measuring performance and management decision making.  Accountants will always tell you about the importance of having everything in a financial system such as SAGE so you can track performance. Internal product information is also useful to communicate what your products do.  If your product range is large 100+ you may need to help clients locate the product that suits them, this is where small web apps can help people find your product for them easily.

Businesses run on data, you may just need to make better use of the data you have to benefit your clients and grow your business.

Compile Your Own Data

its easy to start compiling data.  Open a spreadsheet and record the data.

however there are some things to think about first

1. What data do you need to collect

2. what are you going to do with the data / why do you need it

3. what form do you need the data to be in spreadsheet, paper, MS access or web database.

4. can you collect the data automatically to save time.

5. who in your business needs to collect the data, is there a process / process change to get the data

6. can you process the data once it has been collected.

compiling, storing and processing data can be tricky and often means swapping between systems to get the data into the correct format to make it useful.

keep your data safe.

once you have collected data this may be valuable to others such as clients or competitors or maybe hackers.  It is critical that you understand who has access to the data and how and where your store the data in your business.  If it is personal client information you  have a duty to make sure this is safeguarded from un lawful access and misuse.

If you have multiple personnel handling data you also need to ensure you have an HR data policy and that all are aware of it.

To find out how you can make more from you data to grow your business drop us a line.

Blog Author

Hi I'm Mark Carver.  I started ActivSTEP in January 2004, after having worked in numerous marketing roles in the communication arena. ActivSTEP was established to help small to medium businesses enhance their marketing through outsourcing key aspects of their campaigns.

Having delivered a wide range of projects to clients in the B2B and B2C areas over the past 13 years, I am now focussing my efforts on setting up a site to provide an end to end help for business people looking to set up a successful online business.  As well as this project I am also helping people to make better use of the data they have in their business.  If you would like to talk to me on either of these areas please contact me via email or social media, I'm always happy to talk and would love to help you get the most from your data.