Robb Heineman is the co-founder of FanThreeSixty, an industry-leading fan engagement software and analytics company that offers data-driven solutions for every touchpoint of the fan journey. He is also an owner of Sporting Kansas City and sits on the board of governors of Major League Soccer.
Data is ubiquitous, but success apparently isn’t. Companies using big data strategies are running headlong into an 85 percent failure rate as a result of resistance from management, a lack of adequate training, and an inability to integrate the new strategies with existing business processes. Many organizations also fail to determine the proper key strategy drivers, and as a result, they collect all the wrong data.
While everyone knows how important big data is for business, without a clear business objective, companies are just collecting data for its own sake. Rather than blindly gather data, focus on the knowledge hidden within that data so you’re able to decipher which numbers matter the most. Establishing a standard data set with high fill rates can provide deep insights into what drives a business, while data that sits outside of the standard set doesn’t need to be prioritized unless the goal is a very specific result.
Data generation is accelerating at a rate that’s difficult to fathom — each day, 2.3 trillion gigabytes of new data is created. By 2020, that figure is expected to increase by a factor of almost 20, and companies will see 43 trillion gigabytes of data generated daily. Without a concrete plan for how to use it, this valuable data is virtually useless. That being said, there are a few strategies to optimize data sets and drive tangible business strategies:
1. Add more (useful) data
What information is key to moving your business forward? Develop your standard data set with this information and create techniques to gather it whenever and wherever your customers engage with your brand. You can also provide more value to customers by collecting more data and using the insights in creative ways.
For example, mobile apps are a great way to track fan engagement because it allows organizations to capture fan behaviors based on activities such as survey interactions or redemption of sponsorship promotions. Having this data provides greater understanding of your clients and the opportunity to personalize marketing strategies to engage them no matter where they are.
Chances are that you can do something similar with your own company. Collecting data is important, but having data just for the sake of having it doesn’t do you any good. Adding context to it is what really matters when trying to improve your bottom line, and tracking things like behaviors, purchasing patterns, and attributes helps predict future outcomes.
2. Act on your insights
Acting on your data begins with predicting what your clients are likely to do next. These predictions help you understand how customers are likely to behave in the future.
But deriving the most value from advanced analytics comes from moving beyond just predicting outcomes to taking actions that can improve decision-making. In other words, your data can tell you not only which customers are at risk of not renewing their season tickets, but also the best way to reach those people to ensure they stay engaged with your brand.
A data platform that can integrate all your data, clean it up, and compile it into reports is valuable for any organization. But the most valuable data platforms help move you toward predicting client outcomes and prescribing the best actions for your organization.
3. Use data to its full potential
The correct use of data involves executing a well-thought-out strategy and then tracking your success during each unique stage of the customer journey. You should find that certain strategies and touchpoints produce the most value. Not surprisingly, these are the ones you’ll want to leverage the most.
An important part of utilizing data is achieving companywide buy-in. If one of your departments is using data and generating functional insights, these results must be shared with the rest of the organization in order to have the greatest effect possible. This buy-in should start from the top and work down — if executives and leaders in management aren’t sold on big data, it will be almost impossible to produce meaningful insights that can be put to work throughout the rest of the company.
Emerging customer data platforms can help improve and refine data strategies. With big data comes a huge quantity of information that needs to be managed, and intelligence continues to make its way into these platforms and improve the development of insights. If mining data takes employees thousands of hours, it’s not particularly useful. On the contrary, if a single employee can generate a groundbreaking report in mere hours, your investment in data and analytics is primed to deliver a huge return.
Whether you’re running a small business or an enterprise-level organization with thousands of employees, everyone should be striving to produce more valuable insights from their data investment. Start with the basics, and as you begin to see the wins stack up, you can integrate data into all areas of your business.