How to use data to boost your business

Salvador Suárez

9 April 2021

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While 2020 will be remembered as the turning point for a change in “mentality” amongst organisations globally, 2021 will be the year in which data-driven companies take the definitive step towards adopting data in making business decisions. The exponential evolution of technology and the crisis of the pandemic have caused the “perfect storm” to move once and for all to business management based 100% on data.

We live in turbulent times full of uncertainty, but also full of opportunities and learning forcing us to adopt many changes at full speed, especially in the way we interact with our stakeholders (employees, collaborators, clients …). Particularly, we have had to adapt to new ways of communicating and marketing our products and services.

Why adapt our company’s marketing and sales areas to become data-driven?

Since the beginning of the pandemic, and lockdowns, at Good Rebels we set ourselves the challenge to act as a beacon for the rest of the marketing and advertising sector. We now develop weekly notes for CMOs into which we pour all our – very recently acquired – knowledge on the consequences of COVID on the profession. With the same objective, we launched periodic waves of the 1st COVID-19 Barometer and Marketing with the Spanish Marketing Association.

From this meticulous study in which professionals in the sector answer our questions every week, we draw this main conclusion: superdigitalisation, a process that was already underway, is now unstoppable, and for organisations the time has come to renew or die . And, of course, the way organisations are managed is one of the factors that undergoes the most changes, mainly due to teleworking and the new needs of all stakeholders. We also define three main levers that mark – and will mark – the superdigitalisation process:

  • Habit changes in the search and purchase processes caused by confinement.
  • A new regulation that has limited our mobility, has left us confined to our homes, and has radically changed our way of relating to the outside world.
  • Public and private investments for digital transformation processes.

To the effect of the pandemic, it must be added that we are experiencing an evolution in the development of science and technology at an unimagined speed. The digital revolution grows exponentially and in just one generation we have gone from relating by letters and other physical methods (not to mention mobile) to WhatsApp, Instagram, Tik Tok and, ultimately, instant and digitalised communication through the internet.

Each year innovation generates new technologies, many of which will be useful in the near future to increase operational efficiency in business management. It is always advisable to review the list of emerging technologies and their trends every year, to keep everything to come and how it can affect organisations on the radar. Gartner does this year after year, highlighting distributed cloud services, artificial intelligence engineering and cybersecurity networks as the main technologies to consider for 2021.

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Companies face a complex context, and the reality is that they have never had to deal with such a high rate of change in markets and consumers. Changes that in turn help us understand what organisational models we need to be more flexible and integrated, to be able to work asynchronously and with much more atomised decision-making centers. Only in this way will organisations be able to emerge victorious after the revolution we are experiencing.

Gone are the times when strategic plans of two or five years marked the progress of companies. Currently it would be unrealistic, as the environment changes faster than plans and sticking closely with them could mean being left behind.

In this new context where the relationship between customers, suppliers and employees has become so digitalised, we need a culture that facilitates access to data, that leaves room for individual responsibility or lateral thinking. Specifically one that encourages creative thinking and a projection towards the future based on the quality and solidity of decisions. In short, we are talking about fostering a data-driven culture in each company to better understand the business and be more effective in decision-making.

But how do I orient my company towards a data-driven culture?

First of all, we must create an internal work team to do a deep analysis of the use of data in all areas of the organisation, what data is being used? the normative? Once we know the situation in detail, we will go on to design a work plan taking into account the strategic priorities and available resources.

In the first instance, we will give priority to the areas that have a direct impact on the generation of business. The objective is to be able to integrate information transversally in all commercial and marketing areas, to access and manage reliable data on which to base our business decisions.

An essential tool in this process will be to develop a dashboard or control panel that allows all members of the organisation to access and understand the main business indicators, such as the level of real awareness of our brand, the acquisition costs per channel, the performance of our commercial teams, knowledge of the evolution of the competition in our market, etc. In summary, the first phases that we have to tackle to orient our company to data are the following.

  1. Knowledge, strategic priorities and road map.
  2. Establish the operating model and necessary capacities (resources, profiles …)
  3. Understand the indicators that give us the keys to the business levers.
  4. Cross-sectional management of brand asset data.
  5. Dashboard and business indicators.
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Benefits of a data-driven company

Once the appropriate management model has been assembled for the capture, integration and exploitation of data, we will have the ability to sort, filter and obtain information for the development of advanced analytics, location of patterns, application of predictive models, identification of correlations and trends. Superdigitalisation offers us the possibility to obtain more data and measure more indicators than ever, and this can give us unbeatable keys to improve our processes and, ultimately, sales. For example, the insights obtained from behavioral analysis (relationship between consumer behaviour and their environment) help conversion 85% better than others.

In this regard, the data generated by our own digital assets combined with the data generated by the purchase of media allow us to develop an integrated data model, where we are able to better understand the ROI (return on investment), and apply technology such as machine learning to help us better understand user behavior in all phases of the conversion funnel. But above all, it helps us build a more robust validation framework for our business decisions, as well as helping to generate a higher quality in the data obtained. From there, we can validate and redefine our model.

In short, the benefits of establishing a data-driven culture in your company are:  

  • Better understanding of the evolution of the market.
  • Greater ability to understand consumer preferences.
  • Improve the value proposition of the content strategy and other brand activations.
  • Increase the efficiency of the marketing investment, and therefore improve the ROI of the campaigns.
  • Improve the profitability of your data-driven company and optimise management.

Ultimately, the objective we have to aspire to in this process is to monitor the most relevant key business indicators, in addition to allowing access to this information to the rest of the organisation. In this way we can turn data into the narrative that will help us better understand the result of the actions we have in place. We face great challenges due to the uncertain environment and in the midst of an unprecedented superdigitalisation that will change everything. The data, framed in robust and functional models, can offer us a stable foundation on which to base all our business decisions. Don’t hesitate, take the step and revolutionise the data-driven culture of your company. You won’t regret it.