I’ve got the key, I’ve got the secret… 

I've got the key, I've got the secret
I've got the key to another way
Ah ah ah ah ah ah aha ah…”

Urban Cookie Collective – The Key

To save you the bother of googling the lyrics to the song (in case you can’t remember how it goes), those are the complete lyrics to the song, just repeat them. You’re welcome.

I digress… Data, data, data. Understanding who your audience is, what they need, what they like and what they don’t is paramount to doing successful business and business in ‘another way’. Unless you’ve been living under a stone for the last year or two, you will have seen the buzzword ‘Big Data’ – but do you understand how it is relevant to you?

Big data - is a broad term for data sets so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. Challenges include analysis, capture, data curation, search, sharing, storage, transfer, visualization, and information privacy. (Source – Wikipedia)

What the emergence of this buzzword has done is highlight to many different industries the importance of understanding the data you hold; whether it is in fact ‘big’ or just enough to clutter up your desk. It’s all very well saying ‘I’ve got tons of data’, but if you don’t use it, what’s the point of collecting it?

In your business you will have data – you will probably have a whole lot more of it than you first think, and certainly a lot more usable data than you thought. The best part is, it’s all there for the taking, because anything you do digitally, you can track and analyse.

All of this is wonderful of course, but it can also be very overwhelming. So here are five tried-and-tested ideas for making the most out of your data. 

1. Work out your goal

Why are you collecting data in the first place? You can collect data till the cows come home, but why exactly are you counting all those cows? Do you have a new product coming? Do you want people to be kept up to date with company news? Do you want to set up a blog and get people to read it? Do you want to increase traction within the industry? Do you just want to know who these people are who are viewing your site each month? This not only helps with messaging but also working out what is important to you as a company and what isn’t. You don’t have to track everything!

2. Understand your audience

Who are these people who are engaging with you? How old are they? Are they working? What level are they up the food chain? Where are they based? All of this information should dictate to you how you speak to them. You are not going to write to the CEO of Megacorp Intergalactica the same message you would write to an 18 year old starting their first job being auto-enrolled into a pension (‘A whaaat?!’)

3. Segment your messages

Segmenting your messages is the best way to ensure that people who may want to hear from you, hear about the products/services that are of interest to them. Sure, you can send blanket communications (messaging that applies to all) but the more specific you are to your audience, the better the response rate.

4. Be flexible

Ensure that your communications are agile, by reacting to what your audience is responding to. If you write an article with a business headline and you get five views, how about changing it to something less business focused and see if the number of views changes. This also applies to the medium you choose for marketing your messages and to the way you choose to display your messages (two different things, by the way).

5. Make sure it’s compliant

You can buy data sheets – and lots of people do. But however you are collecting data, make sure that people can get out of the loop of receiving material from you. Nothing can put consumers off a brand faster than a load of spam, and if you dish it out then be prepared to get it back – in the form of Twitter storms complaining about your bullying tactics. Remember, those are people behind those figures.

So in summary: first work out what data you are collecting and why, and what data you aren’t collecting that you might actually need. Once you know all this, understand who your audience are, work out messaging to suit them, amend these messages to make them more interactive and finally, make sure people can unsubscribe if they want to.

To find out about the data that we hold on our 24,000 advisers and exactly how you can use it, please contact me.