It’s the 21st Century, and the majority of companies have finally come to realize just how important digital data is to their business. However, many of them have not quite learned how to fully harness their data to make more money.
Although many businesses have hired software companies to furnish them with unique data capture technology, and although they have started gathering analytics and using it to develop products or retain customers, they simply are not using the data they collect to their full potential. This is something that needs to change if they are going to boost their bottom lines with the help of the ever-increasing volumes of data it is possible to collect.
With that in mind, here are some of the best ways businesses like yours can use the data you (hopefully) collect every day to make way more money and build a stronger business:
Give Your Sales Team a Helping Hand
If your sell products or services, then anything you can do to maximize your sales is obviously pretty important. That undoubtedly means that you should be collecting as much data on as many people as you possibly can. Not only that, but you should be taking that data and transforming it into information that helps your sales team to generate more leads. The more insights they have on your customers and your target audience, the easier it will be. Also, when they have as much customer data at their fingertips as possible, they will be able to offer better customer service that is tailored to each individual.
A good example of this would be a sales company who furnishes each of their agents with information on their customers’ age, sex, preferences and needs, as well as things like the age of existing products and how often they are likely to be used. All of this info can help them hone their sales pitch and help them to formulate a list of reasons why extras such as product insurance might be a good idea.
Improve Your Marketing
Data tells us a lot about consumers and what they are interested in, which means the more data you collect on your customers and people who are likely to be in your target audience, the better you can tailor your marketing and advertising efforts to them. If you don’t want to use it for that purpose, you can sell it to other companies who may want to use your data for that purpose.
Foursquare provides an excellent example of using data to make money via marketing. They sell their collected data to retail companies who then use it to optimize their marketing online and their advertising outside. That enables them to make money and other companies to boost their own marketing campaigns.
Sell Your Data Across the Industry Value Chain
Another way you can make money by selling your data is by not only using it to improve your operations but by selling it to other people who are in your network, such as suppliers or retailers of your product so that they can learn from it and improve their own businesses as a result. Often, this kind of sharing of data can help everyone up, and down your company’s chain, as well as you, so it is definitely something that is worth considering.
A good example of this would be a pharmaceutical distributor who sells their data about the drugs that local people have purchased to local pharmacists, who can then ensure that they stock up on the right product, or to pharmaceutical manufacturers who can use the data to review their prices or develop new drugs.
Sell Data to Other Industries
Most businesses do not even think about selling their data to companies working outside their own industry, but it is actually a pretty good way of monetizing collected data. Why? Because there are plenty of companies and organizations who are interested in consumer behavior and economic activity as a whole and they have to get their data from somewhere. If you have the kind of big data collection software that allows you to gain valuable insights, chances are some of them will be happy to do business with you.
An excellent example of this would be a wearable sports technology firm who sells the data generated by their gear to insurance companies who can use that information to identify the kind of policy that their customer needs. This is something that is predicted to become quite normal in the future.
Sell Insights to Your Customers
If you are collecting all kinds of data on your customers, one of the best ways you can use that data to make more money is by aggregating it, improving upon it, packaging it and then selling it back to your customers in the form of insights. Whether these insights take the form of a financial report, an online dashboard or the offer of a package of insight based services provided by your company to help them meet their aims, it is a solid way of making more money with the data you already have. You may need to use machine learning apps to enrich the data, but it should be worth it. It should certainly help you to sell more and improve your customers’ experiences at the very least.
A good example of this would be an online recruitment company which enables its customers to see how well their job vacancy ads are performing against others in the sector, and which then enables then offers them insights into what they can do to improve their meanings for a small fee.
Increase the Valuation of Your Business
Of course, the absolute best way to use your data to make money is by making it an asset to your company. When data is so important, including it as part of your balance sheet makes sense because there are people who need data who are willing to pay quite a lot of money for it if they believe it can help them to grow. So package up that data and don’t be afraid to use it to your full advantage.
The ultimate example of this kind of monetization is obviously Facebook, who spent a staggering $22 billion on shares in the messaging app WhatsApp. Why did they do that? Because despite the fact WhatsApp wasn’t making much money, it was generating a whole lot of data and as Facebook know only too well, data can truly make you rich.
The Bottom Line
There is a huge opportunity to make money from your data. Big data is now a worldwide business, and everyone needs to use data if they are to get ahead in business. There are numerous ways, as you can see above, to make money by selling or utilizing the data that you should undoubtedly be collecting, to your full advantage.
However, it needs to be said that when you are collecting data, there are rules and regulations that you must abide by depending on where in the world you are. If you abuse the trust of your customers and mishandle their data by storing it when you said you wouldn’t or selling it to a third-party without permission, for example, not only could you lose the trust of your customer and ruin your reputation, but you could even find yourself on the wrong side of the law. So, ensure that you are meeting legal requirements and then enjoy the fruits that your data can bring.