Why marketing data is important for growing your business In order to grow your business successfully, you have to understand your customers. Marketing data is, in many ways, the key to helping business owners gain that understanding.What marketing data should I collect?Marketing Data can be used in a range of different ways – communicating with your customers, promoting new products / services and ultimately creating effective ways of increasing sales. The data you collect will depend, to a great extent, on the nature of your business, and at what stage you are operating.For example, an online retailer may wish to retain information such as order history and delivery details. An insurance company would find renewal date information important, and a start-up company can make great use of market research data gathered during product development.How can this data help my business?All of this information will help to create a picture, or profile, of your customers. That profile will allow you to create relevant and timely promotions to your customers. This will ultimately have an impact on your ability to provide your customers with the best possible service and thus achieve your business goals.As such, don’t discount any piece of information you gather – keep accurate notes of every phone call, email and letter sent, together with any subsequent replies. This will not only enable you to conduct promotions but will also ensure you remain compliant with legislation.How can I use marketing data?Let’s say, for example, that you own a web design company. If you know when your customers last had a new website, you can advise them on when is the right time to update it. Similarly, if your notes show that several customers have asked if you provide a service that you currently do not, such as SEO or email broadcasting, then this could be an additional service you could offer. Without that marketing data, you could be missing a trick.In addition to this, marketing data can enable you to add a “personal touch” to your customers’ experience of your business. You can personalise offers (i.e. “Dear David”), invite customers to relevant sporting events (i.e. if you know David enjoys Motor Racing) or even send birthday cards! All these touches add to your customers’ experience and can lead to more business.How do I collect marketing data?Data can be collected in two ways – gather it yourself or purchase it. Both are great ways of collecting marketing data and ideally, both should be employed simultaneously.You can easily gather information yourself through enquiries made directly – maybe via your website, in an email or even in person at a networking event or exhibition. Customer feedback forms and surveys are a great tool, as these can be a great way of finding out not only what your customers really think of your business, but also what additional services you could offer.Purchased data comes from marketing data companies like Data Bubble, who provide marketing data based on a profile of your ideal customers. Purchasing this targeted prospect data often represents the most cost-effective way of finding new customers quickly, since they provide data that is specific to your needs within minimal time scales. That translates into cost savings too, if you consider how much time you could save by simply having a list at your fingertips within an hour or two!A Customer Relationship Management (“CRM”) system is the nirvana of all marketers, since this allows you to store all the data you collect in a uniform fashion. This makes for easy customer profiling, allowing you to ascertain what markets / geographical areas you are “hot or not” in. A good one will also facilitate marketing campaigns and even email broadcasts to specific customer types, i.e. email “new customer” offers to all segmented within the CRM system as “prospects” or send reminders to customers whose annual licence is about to come up to renewal.What about data protection?If you store or process personal information about your customers and / or employees, you are required to comply with the “General Data Protection Regulation”, more commonly referred to as GDPR.These regulations place an onus upon all companies to ensure they retain accurate, relevant information about their customers, prospects and employees. Contrary to some media reports we have seen, it is not limited to purchased marketing data only, since it includes information already held by companies. That information must be kept securely (such as within a CRM system) and within the realms of GDPR. Further information can be obtained via the Information Commissioner’s website … https://ico.org.ukIn summaryMarketing data can help your business grow in several ways – product development, customer communication, prospect targeting and ultimately increasing sales. It can be collected in a range of ways, many of which are quick, simple and low-cost. Effective use of marketing data can not only add to your company’s growth but can set you aside from your competition. The additional use of a CRM system can allow for automation of marketing campaigns and help with ongoing compliance with regulations. Accurate marketing data enables you to focus your marketing efforts better, and spend your budget more effectively.