Making data-driven decisions requires inputs from the market in the form of various data, including customer insights, market data, financial movements, and the like. Qualtrics enables your business to engage both internal and external sources of information. However, apart from surveys, business intelligence (BI) and market insights can also come from various other sources. Business users will need to be creative in engaging applications to further optimize operations.


Email Marketing and Readership Data

GetResponse Analytics Screenshot

Image credit: Email analytics from GetResponse

Email marketing campaigns can get you a rich amount of data and information about customers. With email marketing tools like GetResponse, you can get market insights in a number of ways, such as statistics, analytics, split testing, and segmentation. The data you can gather from your email list can provide a variety of useful metrics. These include the device used to read emails, what time of the day the message is opened, the geographic location of the user, and more. With these, you can further tailor marketing campaigns to increase conversion rates.


Take for instance the story of Mark Anastasi, who launched a seminar company in the UK. He used various tools to automate his email marketing efforts, but just wasn’t getting the open and click-through rates he wanted with his previous platform.


Using GetResponse, he initially built up his mailing list to 6,000 people and it generated only $22,000. However, in the following year, he generated more than $1.8 million by promoting his seminars to clients and subscribers on the same platform. Mark achieved this without spending extra money on marketing, aside from his email efforts. Since then, he averages $1 million in revenues annually on just a $20,000 email marketing budget.


Enterprise and Operations Data

Microsoft Dynamics AX Screenshot

Image credit: Resource utilization analytics with Microsoft Dynamics AX

Businesses that use enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms like Microsoft Dynamics AX, Sage, and others, can get plenty of data from across the entire supply chain. This can include cost-benefit analyses, the cost of resources, pricing preference, how fast goods are moving, and even the availability of raw supplies and materials. In addition, cloud-based ERP automation platforms can leverage big data in helping the business improve process efficiency.


If your business notices inventory is moving too quickly, consider making a price adjustment, or changing suppliers to one that can better accommodate the inventory levels you need. If your inventory isn’t moving fast enough, maybe it’s time to host a deeply discounted sale — Black Friday, or Christmas in July, perhaps?


Social Media Data

Businesses can use social media analytics tools from their own social platforms to learn more about their audience and what they are responding to. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest all have their own built-in analytics tools to work with as a starting point.


But, the data doesn’t end there. Using data on social media overall can also help businesses discover more potential audience members to use in targeting campaigns.


Oktopost Screenshot

Image credit: Social media dashboard by Oktopost

Oktopost is a B2B social media management platform that focuses on maximizing your reach among a business audience. Use the platform to focus on both engagement and brand awareness. Its analytics platform helps measure and optimize the business value of your social media efforts.


Topsy Screenshot

Image credit: Topsy

Use Topsy to monitor social media for mentions of your brand. Find out who’s talking about you, and what they’re saying. Use this to manage your online reputation, by thanking the brand champions, and reaching out to those who are unsatisfied to try to reach a resolution.


BuzzSumo Screenshot

Image credit: BuzzSumo

Use BuzzSumo to locate and reach out to influencers in your niche, to connect with them in hopes they’ll become a fan, and eventually, an ambassador for your brand.


HashAtIt Screenshot

Image credit: HashAtIt

Use HashAtIt to search hashtags across all social media platforms. See what results are coming up and where, so you can decide the right hashtags to use with your photos, status updates, and more on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Published Research

Research results from Google Scholar

Image credit: Research results from Google Scholar

Published research from firms like Forrester, Gartner, and Nielsen — though usually hidden behind a pay wall — can be a goldmine of insight. In many cases, if there’s something you want to know about you can find at the least an article featuring a summary of a study. While you may not be able to access the full content of the study because the expensive pay wall, you can get enough information to help. Some sources, like the Pew Research Center, run smaller studies, but make the full content of the study available to the public for free. Google Scholar is an excellent tool for cutting through the noise of the Internet and finding studies.


For example, a business selling smartphone apps may need access to data about how many smartphone users are active at any given time. A quick search of the Internet reveals countless studies offering smartphone statistics, but a look at the Pew Research Center offers a comprehensive look at mobile technology, revealing that as of October 2014, 90% of adults own a cell phone, and 64% of American adults own a smartphone.



To get the most benefit from the data your business collects, make sure you’re collecting as much data as possible, and that you are using the right tools for analysis. Optimizing your marketing campaigns might require some adjustments. But with data by your side driving your decisions, you’ll end up with a far better return on investment than if you just randomly made adjustments.



Bio: John Rampton was recently named #2 on Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine as well as a blogging expert by Forbes. Time Magazine recognized John as a motivations speaker that helps people find a “Sense of Meaning” in their lives. He currently advises several companies in the Bay Area.