Especially in the last year, “data” has become nearly synonymous with “truth” in both business and casual conversations. “Show me the data” or “there is no real data” are phrases said by nearly everyone nowadays – but the underlying approach behind this sentiment is still relatively new. Indeed, the business world has fallen in love with data in recent years, and for good reason. Data provides business leaders the opportunity to learn, plan, and grow with an intentional strategy developed with a backdrop of facts. Guessing what customers want is no longer necessary – we can define it exactly. Let’s dive deeper.
What Is Data?
Put simply, data just relates to measurable, recorded facts. The term is extremely broad in scope – data could be customer information, sales figures of a certain product, email statistics from a web campaign, survey responses…the list goes on and on.
It’s important to note that data in and of itself is not necessarily useful; rather, it’s the interpretation of the data to draw clear conclusions (or information) that gives data its utility. When corporations desperately ask for your personal information or third-party companies pay large sums to acquire customer databases, they are actually doing so to develop conclusions about you – using the data to create a more complete set of observable truths.
And that’s the true power of data – if it is used correctly, it can lead to the identification of trends and aid in the development of an action plan.
Data In Business
With these powerful factors in mind, it is clear to see why business leaders are in love with data. Depending on how and in what capacity they are working, data can offer a glimpse into behavior patterns. Here are a few salient examples:
- Customer Data. The more information businesses can gather about their client base, the more targeted their marketing approach can be. Metrics such as buying behavior, location, age, gender, and favorite brands can help businesses sort their customers into categories that make the content shown to them more customized to their preferences.
- Interactions. Nearly every company has an email list or direct messaging campaign. interactive relating to open rates, click-through stats, and time spent on a page can help improve marketing.
- Sales. Knowing which products or services are selling and when is obviously useful information that can help with strategizing efforts as well as with the hiring process.
- Productivity. Data that reflects internal habits can be just as useful – for example, knowing how many emails are sent within the organization, screen time spent on various sites, and time-clocking tasks can give managers a clear idea of how productive their employees really are.
- Financial health. These data are some of the most important to business leaders. Revenues, expenses, debt ratios, growth – these metrics often determine the large-scale course of action for the business.
In short, businesses need data and love using it because it helps them make smarter decisions. And when businesses are run more intentionally and intelligently, they thrive. The enormous surge in cloud technology to store and manage data is a clear indicator of the increased value being placed on data every day. And that observable trend is here to stay.
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