Are you sitting on a goldmine of data that could help you better market to your prospects, deepen customer loyalty, streamline operations, and ultimately improve your business's bottom line? Chances are yes, and you may not even realize it.

In fact, many organizations are collecting tremendous amounts of valuable data from their digital marketing, customer relationship management systems, site traffic and patterns, inventory management systems, one-to-one conversations with customers, and the list goes on. We've been working with our clients to do more with this data --collaborating to help them gather and discover what power they have within that data to influence the overall bottom line. In a nutshell, it's identifying ways to monetize the analytics to drive greater return on investment.

Converting your customer data into business intelligence has the power to dramatically improve four core areas of business: acquisition, growth, retention, and operations. How can you leverage what you have in your organization to impact these areas?

Putting data to use

One of our clients is a national insurance provider that had been collecting insights from various sources, both on the customer side and within their internal operations. Recently, we worked with them to integrate that data, even gathering it from their digital marketing efforts on their site, social and other online channels to see where there might be opportunity hiding.

Data integration gives you the ability to learn more about the customer journey and acquire more customer-driven insights. This can be leveraged for client acquisition, growth through upsells and cross-sells, retention strategies, as well as operational cost savings and influencing the activity that might happen offline.

In the case of this client, their data unlocked opportunity in each of these areas, but even uncovered one seemingly small variable that once corrected could potentially improve the customer experience, alleviate company resources, and deliver cost savings. Using the existing data not only revealed the opportunity, but also provided us a benchmark to then test new assumptions against.

"One of the things we were looking at was the volume of calls and the impact that had on their call center," said Ryan Grimes, director of analytics at Tallwave. "We then considered, if we can do more from a customer experience perspective with the data, make some hypotheses and run some tests to help create a better experience online, could that then reduce the need for phone calls, and improve operational efficiencies and cost savings?"

Key areas data can improve

Often, the biggest thing blocking the path to success is a lack of insight or information on a subject. Once we have it, it's easier to make decisions and map the right path or course correct. And digging into this data can provide that level of insight to help shape or improve the following areas of your business:

  1. Customer acquisition. Combining information from the customer acquisition side and marrying it with current customer data gives you visibility into who your customers are, where your target audience is (online, geographically, in the buying cycle, etc.), but also where you may not be currently winning customers, and what types of customers you may not be winning with. You can then apply this data to develop different strategies for reaching, and potentially converting, that audience you're missing the mark with.
  2. Growth. With a very clear understanding of who your customers are (based on the data) along with insight into what products or services are selling, where they're selling (online and off), during what times of year, etc., you'll be able to identify customer segments and what their needs are then create strategies to hone your marketing efforts to them. You can then map your content strategy with the tactical execution of the digital marketing to help influence growth through upsells and cross-sells of existing customers.
  3. Retention. We're doing a lot around customer retention by using account-based marketing. While it is often more of an acquisition strategy, we're using the framework to first identify who our customers are, building different personas, really working to understand them and why they do business with us and what's important to them. We use this data to create a marketing campaign that helps strengthen our position with our clients, and hopefully build deeper loyalty to not just retain them, but compel them to become an influencer for our brand.
  4. Operations. Much like the example with the call center above, this is where we combine customer data (how they are engaging with us), customer success metrics, and operational data to tighten up efficiencies and improve overall business strategy.

With insight into these four areas, you then have to layer all the digital data with the customer data to truly help inform business strategy. The more information you can gather digitally and combine it with the customer data, the better positioned you will be to improve areas of weakness and hit the gas on areas where you have strength.