In today’s hyper-competitive and hyper-digital business environment, businesses are increasingly relying on insights from data to make informed decisions. From consumer behaviours and market trends, to media coverage and competitor activity, data from internal and external sources can be used to identify opportunities and threats – helping businesses to retain customers, build awareness or develop new products and services.
In recent years, such data has become increasingly valuable to senior PR executives and other members of the C-suite thanks to the depth of information it provides. Instead of basing their decisions on historical research or even ‘gut-feelings’, today’s executives turn to real-time market data to validate their choices – leading to greater results and higher returns.
For PR professionals in particular, data can also be used to improve internal efficiencies and processes. While consumer insights and market data help to direct marketing and communications strategy – and improve customer relations – in-house data can help organisations to cut-costs, eliminate redundant systems and build stronger, more reliable teams.
Becoming a data-driven organisation
As competition strengthens, online data policies change and consumers become more empowered than ever before, knowing how to collect, store and analyse appropriate sets of data can be a constant and trying struggle. Especially if you’re not prepared to plan ahead or build a data-collection strategy that meets the needs of your organisation.
To be data-driven, you’ll need to draw insights from data, and turn information into measurable actions. Here are five steps to becoming a data-driven organisation:
1. Identify your goals
Consider what information you need to collect in order to achieve both your short and long-term goals. If you’ve collected data in the past, complete a comprehensive data-audit so you know what information you already have, and what information you need going forward. If you’re looking to enter a new market, or develop a new product, you’ll need data on your new target market and competitors, or if you’re looking to cut internal costs, you’ll need information about what processes are working and what processes are holding you back.
2. Build a data collection strategy
Once you’ve established your goals and the data needed to achieve them, put together a strategy to collect this data online. First put together a data management team to sort and file the information as you gather it. This could be your PR/marketing team or your IT team. Once you’ve determined who will control the data, decide whether you’ll need to use software like Meltwater to collect it in real time. Online data tools can also filter and segment information for you – making it easier to analyse later on.
3. Collect your data
If you decide to use a media monitoring or data analysis tool like Meltwater or Google Analytics you’ll be able to collect data quickly, efficiently and within your organisation’s budget. You will also be able to collect data like consumer demographics and psychographics via social media and other channels. If you have access to a database of consumer emails, why not distribute tailored surveys or electronic direct mail questionnaires to gather specific details, opinions and consumer insights?
4. Analyse your data
Once you’ve got the data, you’ll need to analyse it in order to compile a list of insights. Ask yourself what your data actually means and consider how it might help you attract customers or drive sales. Use the following analytical techniques to explore your data even further:
- Predictive Analysis: uses existing data like statistics to predict future outcomes.
- Retrospective Analysis: looks back at old data to determine the reason for a particular outcome.
- Benchmarking: compares your organisations current performance to prior achievements or competitors.
- Share of Voice: measures your organisations media coverage in relation to your nearest competitors.
- Standard KPIs: Key Performance Indicators evaluate the success of a campaign or other business objective and help to determine whether you’ve met your desired goal.
5. List your insights
Once you’ve analysed your data for insights, collate the information and tie it back to your original goals. You can then use these insights to create a successful campaign, or change internal systems to increase efficiency. Your insights can also be supplied to the C-suite, or used to back-up your choices next time you present campaign results to senior management.
About the author:
Mimrah Mahmood is the Asia-Pacific Regional Director of Media Solutions at Meltwater, where he helps numerous organisations break down media data (social, print and other), to create meaningful insights; build progressive and scientific frameworks to track efforts in PR and marketing; build road-maps to improve communications plans; and identify opportunities and threats that arise from competitors. As a leader within a multi-award winning company, Mimrah is a proud advocate of better measurement practices in PR, Brand and Strategic Communications. You can connect with Mimrah on LinkedIn
Want to find out how Meltwater can help deliver brand insights and competitive intelligence for your company? Click below!