Where to focus
Two main issues became apparent during the course of the discussion. The first was that our CEOs found data overwhelming, expensive, and time consuming. Not only is data often held captive behind paywalls imposed by third parties, but it is also difficult to process once you have it. Our participants then compared the ways in which they had begun to manage their data, which threw up some interesting ideas. Tobin stressed that every business is different, and explained that data usage is a strategic decision that needs to be based upon two things: the nature of the business, and brand strategy. He believes that a constant dialogue between business owners would be extremely beneficial in this regard. Sharing experiences is a solid way to guide and inspire others, whilst also ensuring that mistakes can be avoided. However, until such a dialogue is formed, here are a few tips for every business to consider:
Work with what you have.
One CEO shared how they had built a clear profile of their customer using data from D2C sales on their website, despite this being their smallest stream of revenue. Limited data can still be very powerful, and using what you have to create a clear profile of your customer is a fantastic place to start. This profile will inform your future decisions. For example, this CEO was using their customer profile to create a media plan, which they believed would be more effective given their increased knowledge about their target audience.
Look for ways to automate.
Perhaps one of the most useful aspects of the digital age is the increased capacity to automate, particularly for businesses. SMEs have limited resources, so finding ways to reduce the number of processes that need human attention can be hugely beneficial. Data tracking services, such as Klaviyo, are useful tools to help lighten the load for you and your team. Once you have established your legal basis for collecting data, these are the key principles to consider: Be selective. One mistake Tobin had seen many times in his experience was a propensity to store too much data. It is easy to think that you should collect and keep as much information as possible, yet this is rarely advisable. Analysing data takes time, so it is essential to prioritise which types of data to process. Determine which information provides you with the most actionable insight before collecting and analysing more of it. Data Protection Laws? The Circle’s second issue centred around legality. With data becoming increasingly regulated and scrutinised, compliance with the law is something every business needs to be mindful of. We called on the help of our partners at CMS law in order to help answer some of the questions posed by our CEOs.