The rate of data generated around the globe is rising with every passing moment. For this reason, collecting the right data can be a challenging task for businesses. With the total volume of data likely to reach 181 zettabytes by 2025, the task is not going to get any simpler.

Once you have identified your business goals and the definition or measure that defines “success” in each goal, you need to collect relevant data that can help you reach them. For any data-driven organization employing the right methods for collecting high-quality data is a crucial step.

In this article, we will discuss the six effective steps for developing an accurate and reliable data management structure.

The Fundamentals of Data Collection

The process of data collection involves gathering information in a legal and ethical manner. The data can be qualitative or quantitative in nature. After collecting the nascent data, it is stored, processed, and analyzed to aid the decision-making process of an organization.

Basically, consumer data can be of three types.

      • First-Party Data: Data collected directly by your company from your clients and customers. It is the most valuable one.
      • Second-Party Data: Data collected from a second organization.
      • Third-Party Data: Data sold or rented by a completely separate organization with other objectives.

The quality and accuracy of your data is far more important than mere quantity. Improving the quality of the data collected has multiple benefits for a business in the long run. A few major ones are listed below.

      • Effective operations optimization
      • Improved customer experience delivery
      • Increased analytics reliability and accuracy
      • Deeper user experience understanding that will shape future products and policies
      • Reduced costs, increased profits, and improved ROI

While the aim is to ensure the best data quality, businesses often end up collecting “bad data.” This adversely affects the process of data analysis. The incomplete, inaccurate, or out-of-date data is as effective as no data.

Effective Data Collection Methods for a Business

Every interaction with a customer presents an opportunity to collect data. Here are five of the best methods for data collection that any business can make use of.

 1.   Transaction Records

Customer transactions can happen through an order or a purchase when payments are made. It can also happen through in-store, phone, or digital communications. However, most transactional data gets collected at the point of a sale.

A clean capture of transactional data makes it effective for processing downstream analytics and tracking down facts related to buying and selling. It is also one of the most authentic forms of data that you can collect. And while capturing individual customer transactions is the gold standard, a good deal of insight can be gained from aggregated collection.

 2.   Surveys

Customers can be requested to provide data through physical forms or digital questionnaires. A survey can also be conducted after a business event to collect the audience’s opinion. Surveys can be distributed at scale, and they are inexpensive. You can also join forces with a market research firm to conduct a survey over a specific demographic.

An insightful survey is much more than simply asking questions. Seek assistance from data analysts to optimize your survey designs. If a data analyst is not available, make sure to pay attention to the wording in your survey questions so that they do not indicate a bias. This will reduce the chances of subjects getting influenced and result in more honest answers. By combining survey data with behavioral data you gain a comprehensive picture of customer choices.

 3.   Interviews and Focus Groups

Conducting a one-on-one interview is one of the most effective ways to collect in-depth data. The process allows you to ask specific questions and clear up any doubts regarding the answers. You can also cover multiple topics in an interview and gather both qualitative and quantitative data.

Apart from interviews, you can also arrange for focus groups, where you can interact with more people. This allows you to engage the subjects from different target groups in a detailed discussion.

One drawback of the method is it can consume a high amount of time and resources. Here is where a professional marketing research firm can be your friend.

4.   Online tracking

Every individual visiting your website generates data. To collect this data, you can use tools like tracking pixels and cookies. Pixels are simple to set up, while cookies are a more expensive option, but cookies gather higher data quality.

Through these tools, you can easily determine a visitor’s interests by their activity on your site. You also get an insight into the price- segments they prefer and their product preferences.

You can use the insights in more advanced prescriptive and predictive analytics to frame your sales strategies, your marketing strategies, or to improve the design of your website. Additionally, you can use online tracking insights to improve targeting accuracy and personalization to put the right message in front of the right customer in the right way.

5.   Social media monitoring

Extracting data from your business’ social media channels is not something you can ignore. With most social media platforms having built-in analytics tools, the process is much easier. In addition, you can use third-party tools to gather clean, organized, and analysis-ready data.

Among other things, social media monitoring will show you the issues that have the most impact on your target group. Obviously, you will need to popularize your social media channels to make the best use of this method.

6.   Data Partners

Many companies provide software to help you visualize your data.  Few companies, however, can ingest, clean, and analyze your data, layering it with added insights to improve marketing ROI. This is what Chronicle Health does.

Chronicle Health is a Healthcare Business Intelligence engine with more than 2 trillion data points on 7.5M providers, 1.5M facilities, 4M devices, and 20M procedures.  MEDQOR’s Information Services & Marketing Solutions create 18,000 data points per hour on the buying behavior and intent signals of healthcare professionals. Chronicle Health layers this intent data onto your CRM records to yield deeper insights that help you confidently focus your time and resources where they will be most effective. (You can reserve your free Chronicle Health account here.)

Best Ways for Improving Data Visualization and Quality

Here are the top tips to help you make the best use of the data gathered.

      • The data quality is paramount. Accuracy and proper data collection make the greatest positive impact on the business in the long run.
      • Data literacy is vital for using it effectively to meet your goals. Make sure you know your data and follow a strategic approach to data management to extract the best value from it.
      • Promoting a specific data-driven culture in the organization backed by training ensures your team members understand their role in acquiring, ensuring, and preserving data quality. Empower business users with tools to flag and solve data quality issues. Arrange specialized training if needed.

Final Thoughts

Building a data-focused organization takes time and effort. But doing it in an effective manner gives you actionable insights and a competitive advantage.

To achieve this organizational goal, establish and support a company culture that prides itself on quality collection and analysis. This will not only help you cut costs in the future but will also help in establishing better relationships with the customers.

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