How to use data analytics to gain customer understanding


There are some marketing buzzwords that are guaranteed to make even the most optimistic person feel itchy with boredom and despair.

‘Wantrapreneur’ is one that deserves to die a slow and painful death. ‘Touch base’ is so tired that it should be put in a retirement home.

Data is another.

Data feels dry and dusty and overwhelming. It conjures up images of looking at reams of binary on a bulky ‘80s machine in a dark room. However, many of us know that it’s useful but very few of us know how exactly it’s useful.

There has been a lot of literature written about the increasing importance that data will play  in a range of fields from Smart Cities, healthcare and manufacturing, yet getting past the concept of data is difficult, because it feels so dull.

Yet nothing can be further from the truth. Data isn’t just a group of meaningless numbers. Rather, if you can understand what the data is telling you, you will see a microcosm teeming with life. A comprehension of data can help you predict customer behaviour, anticipate trends and give you an understanding of what truly makes people tick.

But how exactly can you use data analytics in your business? The good news is that you don’t need a Mensa membership or a Masters in computer science to navigate your way through. Using analytics is surprisingly easy and intuitive and there are a wide range of tools available to help the timid.

An understanding of data analytics isn’t just something you ‘should be getting round to.’

In today’s world, it could very well be the difference between a company that thrives and one that wanes.

Who is your customer?

Social media is one of the easiest and most intuitive ways to see exactly what your customers are doing.

For example, Twitter Analytics can tell you such things as who your followers are, who they also follow, the level of engagement a follower has with your account per month.

Google Analytics can tell you what a consumer searched for before clicking on you, which of your campaigns caused the most excitement. Depending on what you need, you can tailor the information on the dashboard to show you the most relevant statistics for your business.


Facebook analytics can tell you when your followers are going onto your page, the ages and locations of users of your page and gender.

These three networks are very easy to access and use and yet they all tell you an enormous amount about who specifically your customer is, where they live, when they are doing their browsing and shopping.

You can further broaden or refine this information by creating customer personas. This is a very useful tool to really establish who your ideal customer is in a very detailed and deep way, Really knowing who your customer is means that you have the opportunity to ensure that your company can ensure that it is doing all the right things to connect with them meaningfully.

Who are you?

If you know when your customers are online and what their activity is, not only can you change your behaviour to optimise your exposure (for example timing an email mailout when you know they are likely to be online) but you can also assess how successful your campaigns and posts are and determine what social media tools work best for you.

For example, Google analytics can let you know, what your best performing page is (and your worst.) You can see what exactly people are searching for on your website, what words they use to get there and what content they are loving once they are there.

What this means is that you can really hone your campaigns and content. Instead of devoting lots of time and money on piecemeal practices, you can prioritise assets to the venture that you know will connect with your consumer in the most valuable way.

Where to now?

Having an understanding of the data will only allow you to cater to your ideal follower, but it gives you the utensils to broaden your reach into other territories and to anticipate where your business needs to be. Rather than inhibiting you with an overload of information, data can empower you to take your business safely into exciting places.

CeBIT Australia SME Summary Report