4 Steps to building an effective data strategy

We are living in a world of information overload. Each day organisations create an astonishing 2.5 exabytes of information. In other words, in the space of only two days, global businesses create the equivalent in information of all of the words ever spoken by mankind. With more customer touch points, digital channels, platforms and transactions than at any time in history, the pace of change can be overwhelming for even the most agile business.

With this rising tide of big data, how do you separate the signal from the noise and identify the key customers, patterns and trends that can transform your business? Understanding this growing treasure trove of information and embedding data-based decision-making will increasingly be the key differentiator of business success or failure. It can open the door to boosted customer satisfaction, operational improvements and richer employee engagement.

Despite the seeming magnitude of the task, there is a simple four-step process that can help make this task manageable for any organisation. If followed correctly, this plan has the power to transform your business. At Starcount, we call this process D.I.A.L.

Data: First and foremost is cleaning up the data you have from multiple sources, whether shops, digital retail points, apps, loyalty schemes or other transactions. Combining data from operational sources into the right platform is the first step to make it fit for analytics. Without this you can never develop a ‘single customer view’, the vital springboard that everything else is built from.

Insight: The true value of data isn’t in the storage, or amount, of data. Rather, the true values lie in an organisation’s ability to generate insights based on the data in their enterprise. With a cleaned up infrastructure you then have the ability to observe the signal from the noise and generate powerful insights that can transform your business. This extra layer of information will enable you to see the ‘truth’ behind seemingly black and white information. Who are your most valuable customers? What products most appeal to them and how do we stay ahead of our competitors?

Understanding this growing treasure trove of information and embedding data-based decision-making will increasingly be the key differentiator of business success or failure.

Activation: The right activation strategy is the next step, to making the most of the insight. Reacting correctly to the signals identified by the analysts will ensure the marketer or distributor can promote the right products through the right channels to boost to profitability and generate vital sales growth. Bespoke digital platforms built by engineers who work hand in glove with data scientists can give you the ability to visualise this data at scale. Technology, underpinned by customer focused insight can give today’s CEO the level of personalised understanding of their audience a corner shop owner instinctively has about their customers.

Loyalty/learning: The best customer-focused strategy is going to be one aimed at driving customer engagement and rewarding loyalty. The L of DIAL is the result of the magic equation of the perfectly crafted data focused strategy, building a loyal customer base, ensuring sustainable business growth, built around customer needs. The L also stands for Learning. The four step process provides a continuous feedback mechanism enabling you to you to learn and adapt in tune with the changing needs of your customers, based on the increasing wealth of information they provide. Finally, L stands for like-for-like sales growth. Putting the data insights into the heart of your business will drive up sales activity.

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