Research suggests that companies that make their decisions based on data are 58% more likely to beat their revenue goals. However, rapidly evolving consumer preferences and behaviors during the upheaval and continued uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 crisis have left most companies struggling to align their strategies with new customer demands.
A number of these fundamental shifts will have the potential to impact business on just about every level for years to come.
In addition to highlighting just how vulnerable many businesses are to large-scale economic interruption, the Coronavirus pandemic has made us more aware of the critical importance of timelines and actionability with regard to company data.
This offers organizations a golden opportunity to rethink their data strategies as a way to better serve their customers today and in a post-pandemic world.
Companies forced into a reactive crisis mode this past spring are now trying to plan for Q1 and Q2 in which the previous year’s data will not be representative of the current reality.
In the absence of accurate historical data, brands need to approach marketing strategy in the months and years ahead through the lens of three key aspects: search insights, business intelligence, and Artificial intelligence (AI).
This need to better understand today’s consumer at a more granular, personal level underscores the importance of search insights.
Consumers worldwide turn to search engines when they need the information to complete a transaction, and overwhelmingly use Google; in fact, 3.5 billion queries per day are processed there.
Real-time search data can provide a much more holistic view of consumer’s interests, not just with the company’s brand itself but for the market as a whole.
Having a high-level view of the entire marketing landscape is crucial for informing any mid- to-long-term strategies in these unprecedented times. Right now, there is a real need for marketers to understand not just micro and historical markets but macro ones, too.
A clear understanding of what is happening in the industry as a whole enables us to take advantage of broad market shifts and localized opportunities.
At the same time, granularity allows us to not only see the trends that are impacting consumer behavior, but to understand the intent behind them.
However, having access to such data means nothing if companies cannot activate it. In a recent executive survey, Bain & Company found that 54% of respondents cite talent as the greatest barrier to maximizing the value of company data.
In fact, it is the most pressing issue by far, followed by the operating model (41%), data governance (37%), and leadership (28%).
Another problem in the absence of a data-savvy team is an inability to gauge data quality.
Poor-quality data costs businesses a lot of money and a lot of unnecessary spend.
Yet with many studies out there showing that organizations that implement changes based on information received from data analytics see sales margins increase significantly, businesses are increasingly challenged to not only gather and analyze but to reap insights that allow them to make the most of data.
According to Statista, the volume of data worldwide is expected to increase from 59 zettabytes this year to 118ZB in 2023, making the capturing of any real value from analytics a towering challenge.
Artificial intelligence is table stakes now for gaining valuable insights from data at any sort of scale. Excellent at handling high-volume, repetitive tasks, AI allows companies to unlock the potential in their data in ways that previously would have been impossible.
Moreover, AI has the capability to alleviate common data problems such as detecting missing values and searching out duplicate records that make data low quality.
As we collectively look ahead and plan for 2021, agility is critical.
This marketing trifecta — combining the power of search insights and business intelligence with the scalability of AI — provides a framework by which marketers can move forward with certainty, even in the face of the unknown that is “business as usual” in 2021.