In order to grow, all businesses must analyze the market, understand their target audience, and scrutinize their own performance. Gathering and analyzing data is essential for these tasks. Without business intelligence, you’re just shooting in the dark, with no real way of even knowing if you’re hitting your target or not.
But for growing brands that’ve yet to gain mass-market appeal, having in-depth and reliable data can be pivotal. Indeed, it can be the difference between success and failure.
In this article, we’ll dive into the importance of data quality for growing brands, how it can unlock growth, and how its absence can lead to ineffective strategies that may harm your business.
All Brands Benefit From Good Quality Data
The first thing to establish is that, even if you are investing your resources into analytics and research, your data must be accurate if it is to provide valuable insights. Low-quality data can be just as damaging as having none at all and, in some cases, more so if it leads you to fundamentally misunderstand how your business is performing.
So, what separates good data from bad data?
There are five pillars of good quality data, and ensuring that you meet these five criteria is the best place to start:
Completeness – does your data show the full picture?
Reliablility – is the source of the data reliable?
Consistency – are you being consistent in your use of data types, sources, and metrics?
Timeliness – is the information up-to-date?
Accuracy – are the numbers and values correct?
Reliability and accuracy are two criteria that can sometimes be difficult to define, as different types of data collection have distinct methods to ensure that they are met.
Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that your data represents reality and is not skewed by errors or biases. At Latana, we employ a number of techniques when gathering and processing data to ensure that it is both highly accurate and reliable.
From Multilevel Regression and Poststratification (MRP), which uses machine learning to provide accurate insights, to techniques like randomization that removes order bias, our team of data scientists and engineers work hard to ensure that the data from our surveys meet the five criteria listed above.
On top of this, If you’re conducting a survey, there are other factors that you should bear in mind when reading and interpreting the results — such as statistical significance, the margin of error, and confidence level. You can read more about these, here.
All brands, regardless of their size or degree of success, can benefit from good quality data. Whether it’s the result of a survey or analysis of your web traffic, your data can provide a detailed picture of how you’re growing, what you're doing well at, and where your main obstacles lie.
Good data should provide the backbone for your strategic decision-making, but in order to perform this role, it needs to be reliable.
Why Data Quality Is So Important For Growing Brands
For brands on the rise, the factors that make data quality a valuable investment become pivotal. This is because they are the essential ingredients in creating the foundation of a healthy brand — using inaccurate data at this stage in your business’s development is like building a house on sand.
Here are some of the biggest reasons why insights based on high-quality data are essential to make sure your brand grows.
1. Scaling your campaigns requires a solid understanding of what has and hasn’t worked
A campaign isn’t really complete until you’ve analyzed its performance and can understand what worked and what didn’t. By doing this, you can continually course-correct as your brand grows and gain in-depth knowledge of how your target audience responds to a range of different campaign types and messages.
For brands on the rise, especially those competing against established names, being able to identify which channels and campaign types bring in the highest value customers is the key to super-charging growth. The tried and tested method is to start off small, iterate with different creatives, optimize based on the results of your tests, and scale up to wider audiences.
Here it is essential that your data is accurate so that you don’t waste money on campaigns that are ineffective or scale up a creative that isn’t actually performing as well as you think.
For branding campaigns, you can use brand tracking software to see if your efforts have raised awareness, consideration, or preference for your brand in a specific target area, such as a single city, before scaling to a wider market.
2. Knowing your target audience is essential if you want to grow
It goes without saying that you’ll struggle to grow in a sustainable way if you have no idea who your target audience is. Understanding what motivates your customers or clients is one of the most essential things marketers must grasp, because this will help to build a more customer-centric business — which in turn will increase the lifetime value of your customers.
It’s not enough to just define your own target audience without research. In fact, doing this means you might actually miss opportunities or fail to understand how your product fits into the lives of your customers.
Knowing your target audience can allow you to focus your marketing efforts on a smaller, more specific group of people that are more likely to convert. This focused approach can be paired with special messaging that resonates with a specific demographic, such as Gen Z and Millennials, to increase the effectiveness of your campaigns.
For example, you might think your target audience is urban Millennials but, through research, could discover that older audiences in rural areas are actually more engaged with your brand and show a greater preference for it than their younger, city-dwelling counterparts. With this information, you could then shape your offering to fit their needs, too, and provide a strong framework for future growth.
Because your target audience defines so much about how your brand communicates and what values it embraces, you need to be certain that the data used to ascertain who they are is accurate and up-to-date.
Indeed, it’s worth remembering that your audience can evolve over time as your brand grows and as demographics age. For example, an increasing number of Millennials are now homeowners, so old assumptions about this generation need to be reassessed. By tracking the evolution of your target audience over time you can ensure you’re always speaking to them in the most effective way.
While you’re still free to target audiences that you believe will benefit from your product or service, high-quality data can give you reliable insights on how well you’re doing and what steps you might need to take to break through with specific target audiences.
Ultimately, the more you know about your target audience, the more you can cater your message to them and target it more accurately.
3. Defining bespoke KPIs requires quality data
Key performance indicators, or KPIs, are used by many companies to measure the success of their activities, keeping track of the company’s health and its progress towards pre-defined targets.
Many companies track the same KPIs but not all companies are on the same growth trajectory, so it makes much more sense to create KPIs that are tailored to the unique challenges that your brand faces. This way, you can define your success in a way that fits your offering, industry, or the type of business your brand represents.
For growing brands, some KPIs will be more important than others. Keeping track of your brand associations and brand experience as you grow is important to make sure you’re perceived in a positive way while measuring brand engagement will give you an idea of the type of relationships consumers have with your brand.
In order to define KPIs that will help you establish relevant goals for your brand, you need to have reliable data that you can track over time. Without this, you’ll struggle to know whether you’re succeeding or not.
4. Understanding the current state of the market will help define your strategy
You cannot build your business strategy in a vacuum. The wider ecosystem of the industry in question and your competitors need to be taken into account. Here, awareness isn’t enough to get ahead of them. To gain the edge, you’ll need to figure out what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.
Analyzing your competitors can give you powerful insights into how consumers view them and whether their brand has any weaknesses that you can then exploit with your own product offering or with new brand messaging. Ultimately, competitor analysis helps you strengthen and clarify your own value proposition.
On top of this, performing market research can provide insights on the size of the overall market and what opportunities there are for growth within it. Perhaps consumers are willing to spend more money than in previous years or are increasingly concerned about topics like sustainability. Growing brands can undermine the dominance of more established players in the same industry by listening to consumers and growing the market in a new direction.
Brands that have access to high-quality data and know how to use it have the keys to unlocking growth. HelloFresh is a great example of a brand that used data to take it from one of many growing brand names in the meal kit sector to the dominant player in the industry.
In an interview with Inc., the company’s co-founder Dominic Richter explained that:
“his team finds the target customer, busy families (by examining data); fine-tunes the efficiency of the marketing efforts (by collecting lots of data); improves the quality of the recipes (using insights drawn from, yep more data); expands the range of offering to cater to even more customer segments (thanks again to even more insights and even more data).”
For growing brands, data quality can be the difference between being just another player within a crowded category or the household name that rules the roost. By capitalizing on insights powered by data, your brand can set tailored goals, understand its target audience, repeat tried and tested successes, and maneuver around the weaknesses of the competition.
But to do this all effectively, those insights must be accurate, reliable, complete, consistent, and up-to-date.