Getting started with consumer analytics

Post Written by Emilie Benedict, Chernoff Newman Intern

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “Big Data”? Math? Statistics? Variances? Big data can seem daunting, but at the end of the day it’s really just about understanding the consumer.

Understanding consumer analytics today requires a reflection on the past. David Ogilvy, a godfather of the industry, famously reminded us to “Do your homework. Study your consumer in detail.” In many ways, his principles are still relevant in the twenty first century. It’s helpful to keep in mind that we are simply just people talking to people.

Ask what kind of relationship you have with the customer. As you evaluate your customer relationship, evaluate your firm’s brand strategy from their perspective. Businesses today are undoubtedly concerned with profitability, shareholder maximization, and cost minimization. But these are not goals that will result in long-term viability. Instead, focus long-term strategies on attracting customers, keeping customers, and exceeding their physical and psychological needs. Use these pillars as benchmarks to measure success throughout the consumer analytics process. There’s nothing wrong with shifting your strategy mid-process, as long as it is supporting the customer relationship. The information collected becomes useless without a firm understanding of how it applies back to the customer relationship.

Here are the five steps to getting started with consumer analytics:

1. Map the Consumer Journey. Tracking the consumer’s journey with the firm can provide an opportunity to gather data on their behavior. The more we know about our consumers the better relationships we can form with them. After getting an idea about the consumer’s behavioral habits, it will be easier to meet your data collection needs. All consumer journeys are different, but the common denominator is the desire to better understand behaviors.

2. Gather Data. Collecting data is one thing, but data is only as good as your analysis of it. After all, you don’t read analytics. You read information and arrive at a conclusion based on the analysis. Travel the through a diagram of how the consumer interacts with the brand. By doing that, you are already collecting data.

3. Find the Insight. When graphs and numbers fail to make sense, remember that just because it’s statistically different does not mean it’s important. A wise man once said.

“You can’t see the forest through the trees”

Don’t too caught up in the mathematics, but rather go back to the big picture strategy of understanding the consumer relationship. What is the consumer saying? We have the ability, through some very sophisticated algorithms, to take large data, break it down, and understand the story told by the consumer. The goal is to influence the consumer’s story, and get them to do something that they are otherwise not doing. The goal is to inspire action.

4. Understand Past Behaviors. From the insight gathered, can you decipher if your relationship with the customer is transactional? Is your firm in a dialogue with the customer, or simply pushing information at them? Understanding past behaviors brings to light what information is needed for the future. This allows the value of the present information to reach its full potential.

5. Optimize the Customer Experience. One useful way of optimizing their experience is to build a customer persona. It needs to be not only customer focused, but also behaviorally, attitudinally, and interactively focused. The objective it to understand the customer’s goals, habits, expectations, attitudes, motivations, and environment. Afterwards, it becomes easier to make predictions about the customer, and apply them to your firm’s strategy. These predictions will allow us to better identify unmet needs, correct any issues in the consumer journey, and predict future buying behaviors or acceptance levels. In today’s business environment, this is critical.

Data can be scary, but thinking about data analysis as a tool for improving your customer relationship makes it easier to grasp. In five simple steps, you can be on your way to intimately knowing your customer and planning an effective analytics initiative.

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