How your business can be smart when it comes to its reliance on data

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In a recent article McKinsey makes the point that the gap between data leaders and data laggards is growing: while some organizations are doing amazing things with data, more struggle, and some are simply overwhelmed.

For small and medium businesses (SMBs) in particular that sense of uncertainty about how to use data to create new customer experiences, and how to measure the performance of data-led programs, is often worse.

Historically, SMBs have not been able to afford the measurement tools they need to make sense of the investments they are making in digital marketing.

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They don’t have the skills required to make meaning of the data on display.

And they need to focus on growing their business, not on hiring expensive data analysts.

McKinsey writes for large companies, which begs the question, why should SMBs and startups be interested?

Because large companies are very good at leading the way, like icebreakers cracking through ice floes. With a channel established through the digital data ice pack, smaller, nimbler, faster companies can take advantage of the hard work already done by others.

Smart SMBs can let big companies do much of the hard work – and then steal a march on them, providing they have access to affordable digital performance platforms that help them navigate.

So let’s pick through some of McKinsey’s results and make them relevant for SMBs.

Making data work

  1. Be clear about your business strategy. Take a medium-term view, build in flexibility, ensure it’s aligned to your ability to deliver, and to who you want as customers. Make sure your customer engagement is the best it can be. Build data into your business strategy from the start, in particular, the performance measurements around your paid media.
  2. Consider how you’re going to use data to accelerate this strategy. Consider your digital marketing budgets in light of the performance of your paid strategy, and the balance between brand building, the top of your sales funnel and the bottom of your sales funnel. Build out your digital content. Take a look at our Digivizer Academy which can help you start your date planning.
  3. Build a data strategy – but don’t get too locked down. The point about digital is the freedom it gives you to change tack quickly.
  4. Measure performance. Try Digivizer’s new tool for 30 days, and see how your earned data is performing. If you already have a paid digital media campaign, see immediately how it’s performing across multiple search and social media channels. Test budget on short-term campaigns. Compare budget performance across different digital channels.
  5. Research, measure, refine, repeat. Now that you can measure the performance of your digital marketing, you can refine as you go. Make decisions based on information and results (good or bad) rather than experience or instinct. Plug these back into your data strategy. Check alignment with your business strategy.

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A data culture entrenches digital thinking into your business, whatever your size. With tools such as Digivizer, you can see how data delivers, and know where to deploy precious resources. Don’t wait for the perfect moment: let big companies break through the data ice pack, and learn from them as you overtake them.

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