The Truth About Data

company to exceed customer expectations, differentiate itself from the competition, and integrate its brand into consumers' lives? Data collection is a science, but translating that information into actionable business solutions is an art.

The staggering amount of data coursing through social media, e-commerce sites, and financial transactions enables companies to know their customers on an intimate level and anticipate their needs and behavior. Savvy companies use such data to offer a higher level of customization and relevance. They know that the more relevant and personal their product or communication is, the more valuable it becomes to the consumer. Value drives engagement—which impacts the bottom line.

What data matters?

Companies should pay close attention to consumer trends on spend—what consumers buy, what they don't buy, when they purchase, and where they purchase. Social media is also a powerful indicator of customer sentiment. It gives color to the black-and-white transactional data and enables companies to narrow their customer segmentation and better tailor their products and services. Analytic data—such as Web clicks—can also help companies home in on customer preference, product value, and the efficacy of marketing efforts.

As more data becomes available via CRM technology and big data sources, it's imperative that companies keep their eye on the prize—on the data that truly matters. Even more important is the critical resourcing of data mining, analysis, and how this analysis translates into business solutions. With equal investment in data collection, analysis, and application, companies can harness the power of data to drive the optimal customer experience and realize a significant ROI on their technology investment.

Stevi McCoy is a cofounder of Revel Experiences, an experiential marketing firm specializing in customer and employee engagement programs, products, and events.

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