Righto, let’s talk about Data...!
Hmmm, I can hear you from here.
But WAIT! Scratch a little deeper and like the scuba diver who dips below the surface, there is a whole new world waiting to be unlocked.This new world is especially relevant, and important, when it’s your own database, underpinning your business and its livelihood.
Take for example the scuba diver analogy, and let’s say you own and operate a beautiful marina by the sea side. You offer moorings to boats of all shapes and sizes, from run abouts to mega yachts. You have dry dock facilities for maintenance, a kiosk, restaurant and locker facilities on site. Concierge services take your VIP customers to airport and heli transfers. We’ve all seen one, travelled through one, maybe some of the lucky few amongst us use one.
Now, consider your customer, the boat owner. They look to you to accommodate their absolute pride and joy. They need a dock close to your amenities but deep enough to allow even the biggest boat to moor. Given your service, one of your most business critical metrics is understanding what is happening beneath the surface of the water. If you don’t know whats happening underneath and you direct a boat too big to dock, well, we don’t need to paint the picture?
Coincidently, your business data works in the same way. Understanding its landscape, trends and movements is critical to your business output. Just like the marina sea floor, there is much going on beneath the surface when it comes to your business data. If you haven’t done so lately, I encourage you to stick the goggles on, open your mind and take a peek at your database. I absolutely guarantee you will learn something. Big or small, you will walk away with a nugget of fact you didn’t know before.
We’ve been working and improving quite a few companies databases for while now, and when we come across those so called nuggets of facts, we give them a name. Answers. It maybe those customers you haven’t contacted in a long time, or you’ve connected some datasets that would be crucial in bringing people back for repeat business. Perhaps you’ve found some insight into customer loyalty? The underlying premise here is you cannot know your answers without dipping below the surface. So, in the simplest terms, that is what you are initially looking for; answers.
Once you’ve collected some Answers, your understanding of the general landscape of your businesses database starts to improve dramatically. In the same way like discovering where you are on a map, you all of a sudden have direction. You know instinctively know what direction to take because its now easy to match your data landscape and your business goals. With the knowledge of knowing where you are, and where you need to be, you’re empowered to enhance your database with the correct measures to fulfil your business goals.
We call this direction knowledge and moving in the right direction with your business goals is leveraging your answers into actions.
The right Actions will naturally reveal themselves with enough answers, therefore you cannot do one before, or without the other. Attempting Actions before Answers is like trying to find the outside door in a pitch dark warehouse. You don’t know where you’re going or what you’re doing.
Answers fulfils Actions. Answers reveals the data landscape which you match to your business goals, and you’re left with the appropriate Actions. Overall, its quite a simple process, but the process must proceed in this order for you to reach your goals.
There are many ways to get your Answers. Spreadsheets, Data Dashboards, Marketing Toolkits, Data Integrations, the list is extensive. You’ll also have challenges just getting access to your complete database. As businesses grow, so does the collection of platforms that manage databases, and not all them talk with one another. So you may have CRM data in one place, Sales data over there, and website data somewhere else. To truly understand your business database status, combining these platforms together is essential. Depending on your situation, there maybe some pain in getting these hurdles flattened, but the effort is well rewarded.
Some of the answers we’ve found in our work over the years will quite fairly, blow your mind. The most common challenges we see with databases is data health. These challenges, alongside a mindset that says “Well, I’ve captured my customers data” will not fulfil your goals. Why? Because the only concrete thing you can absolutely guarantee on a customer database is a persons date of birth. Everything else is up for grabs. So even if you don’t collect date of birth, your total database is a fluid environment, meaning it takes time and dedication to stay on top of. But those companies that put time, resource and energy into keeping their database in top shape, integrated with other databases and constantly groomed for Answers, will supercharge their Actions that fulfil their goals. Ultimately, these companies will thrive and flourish into todays hyper-digital world.
And the best thing of all? It’s all there for the taking, are you ready for the plunge?
Photo Credit Nate Edwards