Making Data Useful and Valuable for your Business

Every business has Data. The challenge is to understand how you can make better use of the data you have for enhancing some aspect of your business?

There are four main aspects to data; Collecting data, storing and processing data, analysing data and using it for communications.  

I work with companies like yours to understand what data exists, where we need to collect more data and how we can analyse this data and use it to enhance some aspect of the sales and marketing process.

 

Collecting

It is easy to collect data.  Data is all around us.  It is more important to understand what data it is you want, need and are going to use for effect.  For example you can collect data easily if you have a website.  Simple forms and applications that sit on the site can collect and store the input for later use.  As a business you need to decide what information is useful. Don't collect rubbish.  At the simplest level you may just collect peoples email addresses from an enquiry form.

Storing and Processing

Storing data is also simple. You can do this manually, as many people do, and use an Excel spreadsheet, or use a database.  Spreadsheets can be powerful for manipulating data but are not always the best mechanism for collecting data and making it available for processing. I like to use a powerful database called a MySQL which sits alongside your website.  By using web based code to interact with the database your end processed data can then become useful to all web visitors.

Analysing

Lots of people store data.  Not many people take the time to understand the data or decide what it means for their business.  Understanding your data is a key step to help you decide upon a course of action.

Communicating

You can use you data for communicating with people, prospects or clients, particularly if the data is contact type information (email or mail address).  Alternatively you can share your data with clients to make their understanding of your products and services clearer.

Types of data are far reaching and the applications are equally as numerous, so I will outline a few areas below where I have worked with others like you to take their raw data, usually in an excel spreadsheet, and made it useful for their end clients

Example 1 - Product Look-up Guide Online - Web App

The clients data was held in a very large spreadsheet where a customer would have to sort through the whole of the data to find the specific information they needed.  These spreadsheets were very complex.  Once I worked out how they worked I simplified them to build a look-up guide to help clients find their make and model of vehicle and then point them to the correct product.  The previous solution involved the download a large PDF to find the vehicle.

Example 2 - Online Pricing Web Application

This client had a complex set of options for his service business which when added together would build up an overall price.  I took time to understand the options that went into the pricing and built a suitable form for the end user to choose the options and hence calculate the end price.

Each pricing calculation was based on a set of option.  this data was stored online against a specific customer so that the business administrator could follow up on a pricing enquiry.  This particular job was built behind a password protected firewall to allow only specific people to use the tool to price high value projects.

Example 3 - Metal Tubing Pressure Calculator WebApp

A tubing company had a spreadsheet full of small calculators for working out pressures for different sizes of tubing and visa versa,  I converted each of the calculators into small website applications (WebApps) which could be accessed and used more easily by people in the plumbing trade.  These WebApps were also added to iPhone and Android Apps to serve the same purpose.

Example 4 - Postcode Searches Web App

After working with one client we extracted a full set of postcode areas that his business wanted to service, the results being on a spreadsheet.  I then built him a small application for his website which would let his prospective clients search for their postcode.  If the postcode was found in the database it would send them to a contact form, if not it gave them a polite message.  We were able to collect the data from each postcode search and analyse the data for seasonal trends and more importantly prospective searches from areas that were not covered.

Example 5 - Spreadsheet to email marketing platform

Several clients have brought their contact databases held on an Excel spreadsheet to be loaded onto a professional email marketing platform.  The platform can then provide management of that database, thinks like unsubscribe requests.  The platform will also allow you to analyse the performance of each email campaign seeing who has received emails and what interests them about the email.

Example 6 - Spreadsheets to direct mail database

One of my client had three different spreadsheets with different client details recorded over the years.  We took the spreadsheets and combined them into one large customer spreadsheet, capturing all of the fields we would need for marketing purposes.  We were able to clean the data through a 3rd party data checking system.  This process removed duplicate records, updated addresses and provided information about preference service registrations.  We were then able to use this data base on multiple occasions to send Direct Mail letters to potential customers than lead to increased sales.

Example 7 - Media Campaign analysis

At the planning stages of a media campaign one of the key questions we ask is 'how will we measure the performance of this campaign?' We look at all of the sources of data to see what we can measure and decide if we can capture other data which may be of use in the analysis phase.  We have run numerous campaigns which rely on different sources of data to give us a guide on the end results of the campaign.

 

I want to help with your data! So if you have any data in your business which you think could benefit your customers or could help you enhance you business or product please call me.