The Rime of the Ancient Mariner lamentes: Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.
It can feel exactly the same about data. In the modern world data pours in from everywhere. Even though companies are getting much more savvy about how to use their data, there is still a lack of awareness about how exactly sales and marketing could be using it to not only inform their strategy, but to use data as a way to tell a story about your brand.
We’ve looked at a number of interesting and innovative things you can do with your data. The good news is that you don’t necessarily need a whopping great budget and Star Trek-esque systems in order to push the envelope, sometimes you just need to think a bit laterally.
Using data to build a brand identity
Data isn’t only something you can get from the public to better inform yourselves; you can turn the notion on its head and use it to give the public a new insight about your brand. By sharing data you can build a reputation for transparency, thought-leadership and agility, as well as more specific things to your industry.
A really great example of this is food production.
In recent times, the use of IoT technology has become prevalent in food production, which means that there is data for everything. The data can tell an enormous amount of things about the food you are about to purchase, things like:
how long it took to get from the farm to the shelf
the temperature of the food at every stage of production
the amount of water used on the crops
Using this data, you can engage with your customers in a way that engenders transparency. For many companies, they’ve implemented water-saving machinery for their crops, and have saved enormous amounts of water and money. This has the added bonus of being very environmentally friendly. If you have a product that prides itself on being local and community oriented, for example, then also being environmentally friendly gives your brand story another dimension.
Big data does not equal big money
There is this perception that you need huge spends and sophisticated programs to generate data. But this isn’t necessarily the case. It actually helps to have a very specific idea of what you need to be doing with your data.
A great example of a company that uses their data in both thrifty and nifty ways is Akamai, a US based content delivery service provider. Even though their budget has dropped significantly in the last 20 years, the company continues to show significant growth year-on-year. The reason for this is that they know how to use their data to grow awareness for their brand. For example, Akamai produce a quarterly State of the Internet report. The reports use the data Akamai has to analyse trends in internet speed, connectivity and security. This report doesn’t cost any money to produce aside from the content creation fee, yet the reach is enormous. The analysis goes out widely to the media and tends to get amazing coverage. Akamai’s Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Brad Rinklin, sums it up best when he says:
"We took a gold mine of data and we're leveraging it to create brand awareness and thought leadership, which is in line with our overall marketing strategy."
Data: Swim, don’t sink!
By rethinking how you’re using data, you can open up some exciting new ideas that can invigorate your brand, help you become a thought leader and boost your traffic, without adding to your budget. And the best thing is that you may not need a sophisticated system, you may even at this very moment, be sitting on your own data goldmine.