How to Become a Data-Driven Company



How to Become a Data-Driven Company

Business woman standing in front of a screen giving a presentation on marketing data in front of her colleagues
BannerBusiness woman standing in front of a screen giving a presentation on marketing data in front of her colleagues

It’s not an exaggeration to say that data just might be the most valuable asset that a company can possess. After all, data makes it possible to gain insights into your customers. Armed with those insights, you can adjust everything about your business to better fit your customers’ needs, from how you communicate with them to improving their user experience.  

While many companies are already leveraging data to its fullest potential, some are unsure of how to go about becoming the kind of company that puts data at the center of its business decisions because, while it sounds smart and simple, it’s anything but.

Group of data analysts sitting at a table and reviewing sales data

4 Steps to Take to Become a Data-Driven Company

In our experience, there are four core actions you need to take in order to start using your data to better understand the needs and preferences of your customers, provide them with the best user experience possible and, of course, grow your business:

1. Trust The Data

After a website goes live, it’s very common (and, in fact, recommended) to continue to make optimizations to your site. Unfortunately, when you do this, tracking tags and pixels can get—shall we say—messed up, and data can become inaccurate, and even worse, not trusted. One of the guiding truths about data is this: If you can’t trust your data, then your data is useless. We strongly recommend performing a data audit after all major site updates that include a deep review of the data layer to ensure all pages have the necessary tracking tags and pixels in place and are firing correctly, especially for new pages that were added or pre-existing pages that were updated. Even if you don’t make regular updates to your site, it’s still good to get into the habit of conducting a data audit at least annually, to make sure everything is still working correctly. 

2. Visualize The Data

While it’s not expected or required for everyone in your organization to become a data expert, becoming a data-driven company does require everyone to at least feel comfortable with data. In order to help achieve this shift in thinking, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the Google Analytics user interface and keep up to date on release notes and new functionality or changes. You’ll find a good source to do this here. To help make data more understandable, use a data visualization tool, like Google Data Studio, which helps users visualize data, and allows for easy filtering of data and customized reports. You can use Google Data Studio to arrange a regular schedule of reports delivered via email to key stakeholders. Even getting people into the simple habit of viewing data on a more frequent basis helps them understand it. 

Two business people reviewing an analytics dashboard on a computer

3. Understand The Data

When you start looking at data more frequently, it’s common for you to overreact based on a single data point or moment in time, but this isn’t how you should look at data. What you actually want to look for are spikes or dips in data. These are red flags that warrant further investigation. Say there’s a sudden spike or dip in the number of sessions or in the bounce rate. This could indicate that something is wrong with your data collection, or, it may be a result of an action that should be addressed, such as paid media targeting or new site content. Pay close attention to the conversion funnel. If data from the next step in the conversion funnel is higher than the previous step, this should cause a red flag, for example:

 “Add to carts” is higher than product detail page (PDP) views

 “Checkouts” is higher than “add to carts”

 “Purchases” is higher than “checkouts”

Also, look for trends in data over a consistent period of time. Compare week over week, month over month, quarter over quarter, year over year; and compare each to the one from the previous year. That will give you a sense of if something is an anomaly or a larger trend that needs to be addressed. Sometimes, trends are good. They show what your customers are liking or reacting toward, and you’ll want to use that data to increase that action.  

4. Put The Data Into Action

Once you have the necessary data and insights at your disposal, you can then start to take action. For example, the insights may uncover that many of your customers are commonly falling off at a specific point within their user journey. Given that fact, you might want to consider conducting a user experience (UX) audit or initiate various testing scenarios before optimizing the page. Let’s say the data is telling you that some of your customers are coming back to your site just to read content, versus make additional purchases. Knowing this, you can begin to segment your audience into new customers and returning customers, that way, you can serve each audience with messaging that’s relevant to them. 

Young data analysts brainstorming how to segment their audiences on a white board

Data Is Trying to Tell You Something. Listen. 

Data has come a long way. It can aid in multiple aspects of operations and be a real game-changer for your business. However, in order to get the best results, you need to know how to effectively use your data, improve its quality, and manage it effectively. Those who are able to do so will have a considerable advantage over the competition. As a data-driven company, you may want to have Data Analysts and Business Intelligence professionals on staff to help you perform any of these functions. However, if that’s not an option, you can also utilize an external partner, like PeakActivity, that specializes in helping companies become more data-driven.

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