Data is power in today’s corporate world. Practically every business strategy needs to be backed up with substantial data for it to be worthwhile. Moreover, without research, it will be difficult for organizations to identify areas of improvement.
With that being said, business owners need to learn how to collect relevant data. To be usable, data must be accurate, complete, timely, and reliable, not just a random set of facts with no purpose. With the right context, data can help you make informed, critical decisions.
Below, we’ll outline key steps to maximizing data collection, but before we get started, let’s take a closer look at how it can benefit your business.
Why is Data Collection Necessary?
Different types of data are acquired and measured for a range of purposes. For example, business owners can look into the purchasing histories of their customers to find out which products are popular among specific age groups.
Data collection can also help you better understand your customers’ demographics and behaviors, which is necessary to provide personalized e-commerce customer service.
Furthermore, with the right data, you can segment your target audience and design more effective marketing strategies that suit the needs of your prospects. Marketing campaigns cost money, so it only makes sense to base them on actual data to avoid wasting resources.
Lastly, data-driven decision-making is more likely to produce fruitful action plans. You can improve your company’s reporting and forecasting accuracy. Making precise forecasts is especially important in tracking business trajectories.
Whatever your objective may be, there are suitable methods of data collection that you can follow to get the information you need. Here are some of them:
6 Ways to Procure Data
- Forms and Surveys
By distributing polls through online forms, you can ask your customers for their insights and contact details. You can then use the survey results to determine which aspects of your business require changes. The data can also help develop realistic customer profiles for your marketing efforts.
Keep in mind that people have an innate need to be heard. When your customers know that you value their inputs and are willing to consider their suggestions, they may be more enthusiastic about sharing their thoughts.
Accordingly, choosing the specific type of survey to use is a crucial step in ensuring its effectiveness. A closed-ended survey offers predefined answers such as yes and no or multiple choices. This kind of survey is best for gathering data that is easily measured and analyzed in numerical form.
Open-ended surveys, meanwhile, allow for more creative answers. Because nothing is predetermined, your customers have the freedom to give more subjective and detailed responses.
Phone interviews with customers are also an excellent approach since you can get data directly from them. Interview data is highly individualized and can provide unique insights that cannot be obtained through regular surveys.
Interviews can either be informal or formal, depending on your company’s industry vertical. Some firms that routinely hold interviews prefer a more controlled approach, while others want a more relaxed and casual atmosphere.
- Online Engagement
There are many tools available for gathering and analyzing customer behavior data on your online platforms. You can track how users navigate your e-commerce site, such as where they tap, hover, and click. You can even measure how much time they spend on certain pages. By evaluating these behaviors, you can find out how they vary depending on the attributes and demographics of your website visitors.
Also, this type of data collection is not limited to websites. You can measure the effectiveness of your social media marketing campaigns, as well, through metrics like impressions, reach, engagement, and link clicks.
Direct observations can also yield valuable information. For example, you can film events such as product demos and showcases and use the footage to acquire data based on the participants’ reactions. The main downside of this method, however, is observers can sometimes be biased. It’s best to show the videos to a third party to get a more objective interpretation.
- Transaction Records
As mentioned earlier, the customers’ order histories are a gold mine for substantial data. However, transaction data is not limited to purchases. All exchanges between you and your customer are included. Some examples are payments, invoices, product returns, and inquiries on online chats.
Transaction records can help you measure customer satisfaction. Therefore, you will be able to identify problems and formulate solutions to win their loyalty.
6. Third party suppliers
Third-parties, like Master Data Management, can provide curated datasets that can be combined with internal data to provide additional insight. Our Precisely Enrich offering powers enhanced decision making with expertly curated, up-to-date business, location, and consumer data.
Gathering data is crucial for businesses of any size and industry. Without any significant data, it will be almost impossible to track a company’s growth and performance.
Additionally, data is essential for attaining different goals, such as improving e-commerce customer service and creating data-driven marketing campaigns. Hence, it’s necessary to consider your objectives when choosing methods to employ.
Regardless of the techniques you use, remember that keeping all information timely and up to date is key to the overall effectiveness of your data management plan.