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Brands are on a quest to collect more data, more insights and more information about their customers. In fact, the CMO Survey finds that marketing research and intelligence investments have tripled in the past two years. Jenny Dinnen, co-owner of data analytics market research company MacKenzie Corporation, has also witnessed this shift in the market. “For a while, we were in the ‘convincing’ business to get people to use data, instead of making decisions based on gut feel or what’s worked in the past. We’re now in ‘confirming’ business in which people understand that they need data,” she said. While the intentions are there, the desire to be a data-driven brand can lead to tunnel vision – PacMan chomping on cherries and moving onto the next phase. Dinnen cautions against this, explaining that, “Just because you can collect information, you still need to pause and understand what that information means.” Here are three mistakes to avoid to get the most from your data.

Mistake 1: Not Using and Organizing the Data You Have

What many brands don’t realize is that they’re drowning in existing data and their search for more is just further muddying the waters. Tapping into your “treasure trove of insight,” as Dinnen calls it, can allow you to see what questions and challenges you can solve with what you already have and identify data gaps. Keeping your data accessible and organized can also provide historical points of reference and performance benchmarks for the future, as well. “Over time, as surrounding environments shift and perspectives change, older data can be seen in a different light and new application opportunities can emerge,” Dinnen shares on her website. With an estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created per day across the world, according to Techopedia, a successful strategy removes data from silos and spreadsheets by automatically connecting and unifying data, and encouraging collaboration across teams to better round out customer insights.

Mistake 2: Focusing on Numbers, Instead of the People Behind Them

You can’t be customer-centric without actively thinking about the customer. While this may seem obvious, it serves as a valid reminder to focus on the human beings on the other side of the clicks, costs and conversion rates being tracked. “Companies should dig in deeper to find out the ‘why’ behind the data,” Dinnen explains. “So, instead of looking so closely at what consumers are clicking, look at the bigger picture that’s emerging and evolving to get an idea of what they’re looking for.” This can be accomplished by looking for patterns, asking questions and opening the lines of communication between your brand and your customers. Fifty-two percent of global internet users, ages 25-34, post reviews online, according to Statista, the other half of people in this category who don’t share with the online community most likely pass along their experience–especially the bad ones–to friends and family by word of mouth. This puts things into perspective just how valuable feedback is from individuals who leave a review or reach out to the company. “Most of the time, there’s a disconnect between what sales and marketing is talking about and then what the actual experience is that the customers are having,” Dinnen explains. Checking reviews, feedback logs and reaching out to the customers allows you to optimize their experience and make promises on what’s truly being delivered.

Focus on the human beings on the other side of the clicks, costs and conversion rates being tracked. More on effective data collection and leveraging data insights in the new #OrangeLabel blog. Click To Tweet

Mistake 3: Sending Surveys without a Strategy

A quick inbox search of my most-used email address for the word “survey” filtered about 200 responses this year alone. The bulk of them were after-purchase surveys asking about how my experience was, from events I attended to items that I purchased. Among them was a local crash repair mechanic. You see, I had a fantastic experience with them. And I shared a glowing review. Only to be met with a bombardment of reminders to fill out the survey I’d already completed, so I unsubscribed from communication. “We can’t just be firing off questions or overloading people with feedback requests. We must ask the right people the right questions at the right time; and have a clear purpose for doing all this in the first place,” Dinnen explains in a recent article.

We must ask the right people the right questions at the right time; and have a clear purpose for doing all this in the first place,” MacKenzie Corp co-owner Jenny Dinnen explains in a recent #OrangLabel article. Click To Tweet

Feedback surveys aren’t just obligatory, they’re necessary and can contain nuggets of information from customers who take the time to share. To make these surveys accurate and effective, review all touchpoints along the customer journey and reduce room for error by including specific questions at the top asking about their situation: Did they attend the event or did they give their tickets to a friend? Have they had enough time to utilize their product? Was the product a gift? Asking clarifying questions and timing your emails properly will help you best manage that customer-brand relationship.

In today’s race for data, remember the goal. Improving your consumers’ life in some way. Replace disconnected data with organization, pair your quota analysis with questions and create a clear path to connect with your customers. For more on our data analytics services, email rreiter@orangelabeladvertising.com and stay tuned for our upcoming podcast with Jenny Dinnen!

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