Being a partner for a number of brands and businesses, one of the most common tasks we have is to drive growth. For sales as well as brand awareness. While working with SMEs, one aspect we found common – and interesting – among them is the lack of using data in their growth plan. When I say, lack of using, I don’t mean absolute zero. Sales figures, marketing expenses & budgets see a lot of data usage. What I mean using a larger set of data and deeper analysis for growth.
Lack of a common data platform
Most SMEs do not have a system in place, for gathering and analysing data. Every moment there is some data generated around their brand or business – on social media, website, physical sales channel, email or somewhere else – and it is not collected. Even if collected, it is staying on an island, which cannot be accessed easily.
What we should remember is, when we are not gathering the data and analysing them in a proper way, we are actually running blind. Based on our gut feelings, hunches and assumptions, decisions are taken and budgets allocated.
Investing in a data analytics platform
We advise our clients to invest in a data analytics platform so that we can leverage the strength of data we have. Though most of the data science platforms in the market have a monthly subscription fee, there is a one-time investment required for setting it up, onboarding, configuring the ingestion and data sources, setting up dashboards and reports, creating data models that serve our purposes (in our case, customer insights, marketing etc). Once these are set up, the only expense you incur on this infrastructure expense is the monthly subscription.
Data analytics and customer insights
Most SMEs have some sort of a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool. At least in the form of an Excel document! This data, combined with social media data, website analytics and sales data can give us a 360-degree view of our customers. A good data scientist can create models with customer behaviour, demographics, interests, purchase and experience journey etc, and come up with insights that will help us in understanding the audience in a much better way. This understanding improves our communication to them, the products or services we are delivering, and the overall experience we are creating for the brand.
Improving Marketing with Data Analytics
Data analytics can help an SME to improve their marketing in 2 ways. One, by understanding the audience and customers really well, they can create the right messaging and brand experiences that resonate with them. Two, by analysing the previous marketing campaigns and their performances, we will know what has worked and what hasn’t. And by juxtaposing against the 360-degree view of the audience, a smart data analyst can create insights on why it worked or didn’t. Analysing marketing data can also help in knowing the most valuable channels we have, for driving sales or brand engagement. This can help in reducing marketing expenses by getting more bang for your buck.
Creating great messaging for marketing and brand
When we understand our audience really well, thanks to data analytics, and the right channels and time to reach them, developing the right message or experience for the brand become easier. The clarity we have now on these 3 aspects can directly result in an increased impact from the campaigns. With proper segmentation of the audience based on their traits, we can now create different messaging for them, that works better.
Machine Learning & Predictive Analysis
A data analytics platform with Machine Learning deployed can turbo-charge an SME’s growth. Post-deployment of the ML model, in a few months, the system can be programmed to predict the sales patterns, demand of products, trends in your sales etc, thereby helping you to forecast the business and gear up in a much better way.
Choosing the right data analytics platform
As an agency, we always suggest choosing a platform that gives us the flexibility to customizing and creating different data models as per the client’s requirement. A combination of AI, easy data ingestion options, data modelling and ML (Machine Learning) capabilities would be ideal for any business. With some professional help in data science, data analytics and strategy, such a platform can be used for driving the sales and brand growth.
Every business, whether small or medium, is generating a lot of data every day. With a good data science and analytics platform in place, they can tap into the huge potential of this data, and make informed decisions on their business. With a combination of data science platform, good analytics services and right strategies based on insights, driving sales and brand growth will be much easier for an SME.
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