Data and the economy

Emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and Virtual Reality (VR) have propelled businesses into a new era of digital connectivity.

Unlike previous centuries, oil is not the resource powering this economic transformation. Instead, copious reserves of personal data collected from the technology we interact with daily are being used to grow businesses, generate revenue, and even heat homes (it’s true, Stockholm is rolling out the initiative right now).

Tech’s biggest players – Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft – have long reaped the benefits of this data-driven digital world, generating a combined net profit of $25bn in the first quarter of 2017 alone. But with the UK government expecting AI to add £630 billion to the economy by 2035, it’s clear that businesses of all sizes and across all sectors need to embrace data-driven thinking if they want to remain competitive. So, how can enterprises keep ahead of the game?

Remove the ‘Big’ from ‘Big Data’

The sheer volume of data analytics and information available can be daunting. The last two years have generated 90 percent of the world’s data with more than 2.5 quintillion bytes a day – the equivalent of four Eiffel Towers. Figures are only set to grow as technology continues to develop, with the IDC estimating that the world will create 163 zettabytes of data by 2025.

Despite the magnitude of data available, quantity should not be confused with quality. Before diving headfirst into your customer insights, it’s important to take a step back and assess the needs of your business. Not only should you consider the different types of data you have available, but you also need to consider how this data can be used to improve your business.

Next, you need to think about how you will implement your data strategy and the costs associated with this. From hiring a specialist team that can collect and analyse the data (while ensuring you remain privacy complaint) to purchasing technology that centralises all incoming insights, every business should factor in the potential expenses accrued through data intelligence and budget accordingly.

Prioritise first-party data

Long gone are the days of blanket marketing messaging. The modern consumer has become accustomed to receiving relevant and personalised engagements across the entire purchasing journey. That’s why, in a connected world, understanding what makes consumers tick has never been so important.

As with any successful business strategy, gaining a clear, comprehensive image of your target consumer is the first step. So, how can businesses achieve this holistic view?

Most companies have access to a treasure trove of first-party consumer data – sometimes without even realising it. These insights can provide them with the key to unlock a more successful relationship with customers. By understanding the consumer journey, from online preferences to purchasing history, businesses have the ability to anticipate a customer’s needs. This consumer knowledge alone can help guide business decisions, including investment opportunities and targeting marketing efforts.

Therefore, as we enter the next stage of digital evolution it’s time for businesses to re-focus their efforts – using data-driven thinking to better understand and engage with their customers, ensuring they create a successful value exchange to gain that competitive edge.

Kay Seago, GingerMay PR By Kay Seago, Senior Account Executive