Data the new language for business growth

Michael Ziviani writes about how data has become the new roadmap to business growth in our post COVID-19 world as organisations reassess their business models and goals.

Rapid change and innovation has become integral for many businesses as they pivot their models to take advantage of new opportunities and deliver new services to customers to remain profitable during this difficult period.

Many examples of this have been covered in the media, ranging from gin companies manufacturing hand sanitiser and engineers manufacturing PPE, to high-end restaurants delivering affordable meals and others providing home office essentials.

As we precariously move out of crisis mode, the questions for business are: Do I revert back to my previous business model? Do I focus on my new model? Are there other new opportunities that I can take advantage of? Or can I have the best of both worlds?

The answer lies buried in the customer data you have or can access, based on its quality and structure.

Data done well creates a discipline. That discipline can be aligned to an organisation’s strategic business objectives, for example, growth by converting prospects to new customers or growth by deepening relationships with existing customers. It can measure your KPIs and it can identify what matters, for example, what are your demand drivers? It enables you to analyse your marketing, find out what it cost you to acquire a new customer and how to allocate budget for best effect. Data analytics can have a major impact on accelerating cost reduction and business efficiency.

Data as business DNA

Data is the DNA of your organisation, if you understand the significance of your data you can develop a custom roadmap to business growth.

Business is essentially a process machine. Data informs how inputs are transformed to outputs, whilst maximising profitability by virtue of the marketing process. It’s like an efficient factory – when you understand performance drivers, you achieve impact and efficiency and customer data is the key.

The experience and understanding you have of current customers is one of the most valuable assets available or easily accessed. Further analysis helps identify what they need and can provide you with the opportunity for sell-on or upgrade. It’s much harder and more expensive to acquire a new customer.

By refocusing on your fundamental core customers your brand loyalty works both ways – a reciprocal unspoken agreement between buyer and seller that is beneficial to both.

Creating a Roadmap

When considering how to develop the roadmap ahead there are some key elements that are very important to consider. They include: the number of customers you have, identifying if they are core or new, your average selling price, profit by customer and the products or services that they currently buy from you.

A surprising aspect of the current situation has been how willing customers and prospects have been to talk. This has provided an opportunity to unlock an understanding of their needs and help them assess how well their current offer fits. Customer concerns have led them to seek professional advice and help, resulting in discussions that lead them to look at their data differently.

The provision of products and services is essentially a construct to meet customer needs. Capturing those needs in data means careful thought, but will pay back in spades as they shift in times like these. To sustain your business do you need to review or redefine your product? Can you turn a negative into a positive? For example, with spending curtailed from lockdown, online markets have surged and states opening borders have seen new interest from travellers who can’t fly internationally.

The analysis of your customer data will identify whether keeping your traditional customer but making them aware and developing demand for your new products is enough to pivot your business, or whether your traditional business or new model is going to be more profitable and effective.

We’re often constrained by the momentum and comfort of legacy. But crisis can present an opportunity for change, if our thinking allows our business to be receptive to that.

Essentially the post COVID-19 world provides the opportunity for a new cake to be baked – but it has slightly different ingredients and a new recipe. The fundamentals of customer needs have shifted to seek more visceral requirements. They want to experience the here and now, the immediate and real.

So how do you develop your data to become a new roadmap to business growth?

You carefully develop a meaningful framework of customer metrics, just like a blueprint. This means getting creative in where to source information, particularly opinions and attitudes, which drive behaviour. Metrics should be regularly refreshed and interpreted into two tiers of impact: things you are doing right and a critical review of whether you are doing the right things.

Data requires a strategy to be meaningful. It involves understanding the genesis of value in your marketing projections – once unwrapped, that value creation shows you where, how and what data can be translated into business growth and success.

Michael Ziviani is the founder and CEO of Precise Value.

Photo by Tabea Damm on Unsplash.