Category: Business & Finance
According to recent research by IDG Enterprise, more than half of (53%) decision-makers at enterprises reported that their company was currently planning on implementing a data-driven project of some sort in the near future. The same study also found that 78% of individuals surveyed felt that the analysis of data for decision-making would “fundamentally change the way their company does business”. Furthermore, 71% of these same respondents also felt that this endeavor would create additional revenue streams and opportunities for business within just a few years.
If these statistics show us anything, it’s that more and more companies looking to achieve success in today’s business landscape are beginning to see the value in data and the profound impact it can have on the decision-making process. It’s easy to understand why. Companies who adopt a data driven approach report not just higher profits, but also higher productivity than those who don’t. If you’re currently interested in learning more about data-driven decision making and how it can benefit your company, then this article will serve as a great resource to help educate and inform you on the concept.
What is data-driven decision making (DDDM)?
Data-driven decision making (also referred to as DDDM), is the process of gathering and analyzing data for the purposes of using the insights gained to influence important business decisions. Data-driven decision making is more than just simply browsing through website analytics or sales and customer data to get a feel for what future steps should be taken. It involves the creation of a systematic approach to data collection, analysis and implementation of data-driven decisions, as well as an investment in quality tools and skills in order to facilitate this approach.
Why make data-driven decisions?
Data-driven decision making is superior to other forms of decision making because it ensures that decisions are based on logic and reasoning as well as supported by numerical evidence. Without the use of data to inform decisions, decision makers run the risk of being subconsciously influenced by factors such as bias, external stimuli such as the opinions/demands of others, or acting on assumptions, gut-feeling or theory.
The benefits of data-driven decision making
There are numerous benefits to using data to influence the decision-making process. Data-driven decision making is beneficial because:
- It is objective. Data-driven decision making relies on statistics and numerical data and as a result is an objective process.
- It can be easily evaluated. The great thing about data-driven decision making is that it can be easily evaluated based on how the implementation of certain decisions impact various metrics.
- It facilitates greater control. With data-driven decision making you gain greater control over the direction of your business and the quality of your decisions. This is because it is based on objective data, concrete evidence and results can be effectively measured in order to assess impact.
- It increases agility. When data is influencing the decision making process, companies become more agile. They are able to detect new business opportunities sooner, identify issues more quickly (and at times even proactively), as well as respond to market changes more swiftly.
- It promotes greater transparency/accountability. Data-driven decision making is based on objective data and numerical information and as a result, facilitates greater transparency and accountability with regards to the decision making process.
As you can see, data-driven decision making provides businesses with numerous benefits which can have a profound impact on everything from business operations to customer service, sales, growth and expansion. Furthermore, it is extremely versatile and can be implemented in virtually any area of your business where you are seeking improvement.
Implementing a data-driven approach
There are essentially five steps to implementing a data-driven approach to decision making. These steps will provide you with a guideline when it comes to building a systematic method that integrates well with your current business model.
1. Define your goal. The first step is defining your objective. What is it that you wish to accomplish with data-driven decision making? Are you seeking greater sales? More efficient operations? Increased customer retention rates or an improved customer experience? Whatever the goal may be, it needs to be defined, focused, documented and communicated with your team in order to lay the groundwork for success. Communicating with members of your organization about the importance of this approach also helps to establish the right culture and shared values necessary in order to be truly effective. Remember, it’s a team effort, and everyone needs to be on board and on the same page in order for this to work.
2. Establish a hypothesis. The next step involves formulating a hypothesis. Your goal/objective is what you would like to accomplish, however it’s necessary to come up with an initial proposed strategy for accomplishing it. Focus on the area of business where you feel data-driven decision making will have he greatest impact. For example, perhaps your goal is to generate more leads by building your email list. Your hypothesis could focus on creating a lead magnet of sort such as a downloadable case study in order to impact the amount of email subscriptions you receive (i.e. If we add a lead magnet in the form of a downloadable case study to our website, we will increase email subscriptions).
2.Identify data need. The next step involves identifying your data need. There are two general types of data: qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative data is non-numeric and more subjective in nature than quantitative data, which is numeric and objective. Quantitative data is what pops in mind when people are talking about big data.
3. Build data process. Once you’ve identified your data need you will need to figure out how you are going to collect the data. Is this something your company is capable of doing itself or will you need to outsource the data collection process? Perhaps you’re in a situation where you already have a process for collecting the data you need. If this is the case then you won’t have to worry about this step, but you will have to ensure that your data is clean. If you do not currently have a process for data collection then you will need to decide who will be collecting the data you need. Is this source reliable? How is the data going to be sampled and what is the sample size? What about the number of your data sources?
Data coming from a single source is uni-dimensional and limiting in scope. As a result, it’s generally best to have more than one data source. A recent study found that the average company uses five data sources. On average, three of these sources are external. What’s even more interesting is the fact that more than half of these companies working in the data-driven business who were surveyed stated that the number of sources they use is expanding. If you plan on using multiple data sources, keep in mind that it’s also necessary to have common variables throughout each of these sources so that information can be integrated from each accordingly.
Once this is decided upon, it will be necessary to assign data collection and management roles as well as to define various processes and protocols necessary to ensure everything runs smoothly.
4. Analyze data. Once your data process has been defined and your data begins to be collected, you will have to begin analysis. This is where an investment in quality tools is key. You may find that your company currently has the resources, skills and capabilities to analyze the data on it’s own. If this is the case, then great. However, many companies find that they need a trained specialist in order to effectively handle this task. The decision is ultimately in your hands.
5. Make a decision – Once your data has been collected and analyzed it is now time to use the information and insights that were gained in order to make a decision. In order to do this, you will need to transform the insights into actionable tactics and strategies that translate to benefiting the business. It will also be necessary to present this data and communicate it in a manner that is easily understandable even to individuals who are not technically trained. Remember, presentation and timing is everything in order to make an impact. Regardless, you can rest assured that your decision is backed by hard numbers, quality data and supported by a systematic process designed specifically to ensure that your decisions are objective and sound.
Data-driven decision making isn’t just some new trend that businesses are striving to hop onto in order to remain relevant. It’s a statistically validated process which provides businesses with a systematic and objective approach to decision-making that can help to increase efficiency of processes, effectiveness of decisions, workplace productivity and business growth. If you’re considering leveraging the power of data in order to set your company up for success, then rest assured you’re making a sound decision.
Have you used data in any form to help inform and lead your decision-making processes? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments below!
In a recent Fast Company article, research showed 42% of individuals stating that they personally believed the growth plans of their organizations were negatively impacted due to a lack of access to quality leadership.
So, we all know that strong leadership is the driving force behind a company’s success, but what exactly is strong leadership? Well, the truth of the matter is that there are innumerable traits that make quality leaders
And they don’t all have to be present within someone for them to rise to the top. It just has to be the right mixture of the right ingredients.
The roles of leaders encompass so much more than just ensuring compliance and managing expectations and growth. In the case of leadership, the ability to leave a positive imprint on society and make a change is of utmost importance and as a result, these leaders need a specific set of skills and traits in order to get things done.
Leaders are inherently role models. They’re goal-oriented, they’re decisive, they build others around them up and they embrace change and contrast. Leaders must be multi-dimensional and their effectiveness depends on certain traits that are proven to engender success. In this article, we’re going to bring you our list of 7 leadership qualities that do just that.
1. Passionate and Ambition
Passion is an absolutely indispensable trait when it comes to leadership. Leaders should be passion about their causes, the organization and it’s espoused and enacted beliefs. In fact, it is passion that drives ambition. When you’re passionate about a project, about a cause, about an organization, it motivates you to be a part of it and to make a difference.
Many of us have seen the flip-side of this scenario and the results a decrease in self-efficacy of teams, employee motivation and organizational cohesion. Employees can’t effectively carry out and achieve goals that they don’t care about.
Many times passionate leadership is needed to drive determination, motivation and achievement. When employees feel emotionally connected to their organization, they are more committed, engaged and effective and this is a recipe for success and long-term sustainability.
2. An insatiable drive for personal growth
One of my favorite businessmen is a guy by the name of Robert Kiyosaki. He’s a New York Time’s Best Seller and the founder of the Rich Dad Company, a private financial education company. In his book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” he discusses the importance of investing in yourself and self-development.
The idea is that every step of the process counts and leaders who take the time each day to invest in themselves in some way, shape or form — whether it be related to health and wellness, their industry or educationally — have the highest propensity towards success.
An insatiable drive for personal growth also facilitates accomplishment every step of the way and it’s these tiny victories which build self-efficacy — the building block for achievement.
3. Exceptional, open and honest communication
Did you know that according to Business 2 Community, a whopping 60% of employees don’t understand their organization’s goals? Employees who haven’t been properly communicated to about holistic goals and achievements risk becoming directionless, stagnant and complacent. Needless to say, this isn’t a recipe for success.
Furthermore, the same study found that 77% of employees feel that their workplace performances would be positively impacted with more feedback from leadership. In fact, according to the same data giving feedback was shown to increase engagement by 60%.
A leader must be an exceptional communicator — and the first quality that exceptional communicators possess is the knowledge that communication is a two way street. It’s not enough to be authoritative, dictatorial or task-oriented. These are one-way forms of communication processes and leave employees questioning their value and place in an organization.
Your teams can’t achieve goals they don’t understand and they can’t improve upon their processes and performances without your feedback and input.
Effective communicators build up their teams, they are open, they are honest and this transparency and regard for others fosters achievement by fostering self-efficacy and thus driving workplace cohesion and success.
Lastly, a recent study by the Pew Resaerch Center, 84% of individuals claimed that they felt honesty was an absolutely essential quality for a leader to possess.
Charisma is defined as a “compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others”. Charisma is just one of those traits that can make all of the difference in the business industry. Think of the greats like Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, J.D. Rockefeller, JFK, Sir Winston Churchill and Mahatma Gandhi.
All of these individuals had a natural ability to inspire others; their magnetic pulls were undeniable.
Charisma ignites passion. It facilitates action. Did you know that 87% of employees aren’t passionately engaged in their work? That’s almost 9 out of 10 individuals. That’s insane! As a leader, your job is to motivate the masses, to be a rabble rouser, to summon the ranks and take action.
A recent Broderick & Company survey said that 42% of successful leaders in professional firms are described as “influencers” and 34% were noted as being both “inspirational and passionate”.
Charisma is a power to behold — it’s gravitational pull is undeniable. Perhaps that’s why they call it “force” of personality
A recent Inc.com article defined grit as “the perseverance and passion for long-term goals”. In fact, according to research by Angela Duckworth with the University of Pennsylvania, grit is a “greater predictor of success than IQ or leadership potential”.
That’s a pretty big deal.
A resilient mindset that is able to embrace contrast is unbeatable. The ability to truck through obstacles, to get hit and keep on going just innately breeds success. It’s the individuals that view the small victories as important steps along the way and embrace drawbacks who are proven to have the highest levels of which self-efficacy — the building block to personal achievement. It’s a never-ending cycle, really.
A famous quote by Robert Kiyosaki is “The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desires, the size of your dreams and how you handle disappointment along the way.”
Organizations need leaders who can be decisive and strong-minded in high-pressure situations. When the stakes are high and the chips are down, leadership is the beacon of guiding light. They inspire, they motivate, they get the job done and they help others do the same because they have grit and it’s just ingrained in their DNA.
The saying goes that “If you fail to plan you plan to fail”. This couldn’t be more truthful. Leaders who want to make a lasting impact on their organization should strive for proactive, rather than reactive leadership.
Being proactive means thinking on your feet, being decisive, calculated and taking life into your own hands. Individuals who are proactive score high in levels of self-efficacy, as well as strategic and long-term thinking. They have sound judgment, initiative and they take responsibility for their lives and circumstances by being active creators of such circumstances.
They are risk managers. They plan, prepare and deliver. It’s not hard to understand why proactive leadership is fundamentally important to the success of any organization.
This is an important one. Being a good leader, especially when it comes to leadership means being people-centered. People-centered individuals tend to be compassionate and have higher levels of empathy and understanding and perception.
This is because people-centered individuals genuinely care about and want to help and understand others — qualities which have immeasurable impacts on employee performance and workplace cohesion.
In fact, the Pew Research Center cited compassion as a trait that is absolutely essential for leadership and Aussie based McCrindle Research found that the majority of individuals surveyed agree that people-centered leaders have “the most influence and impact”.
To put it point blankly — your team won’t be motivated if they don’t feel appreciated.
Supportive and generous leadership mindsets are key to achieving success at all levels of all kinds. By bringing people together, by building individuals up and listening to and addressing their concerns, we positively impact our relationships with them. Employees who see that you’ve put in the time and energy to emotionally invest in them reciprocate and leaders as such breed loyalty.
There are innumerable traits that can work together to create a successful leader and the seven qualities touched upon in this article are proven to have a direct and positive impact upon the success of an individual in a leadership position. It’s not just enough to manage expectations, teams and grow your business. Leaders must make an impact. Their purpose isn’t just profits and returns, it’s much larger than that; they’re in place to catalyze change, to foster advancement through social praxis and it takes very multidimensional and highly capable individuals to achieve this.
But when they do — the results are progression and a better society for us all. They are true agents of change — what better job could be had?
Did you know that 51% of the world population will attain smartphones by 2018? We are advancing at a rapid phase. The same is why not staying on top of trending strategies for business growth can easily set your business back and drastically affect your bottom line.
According to statistics, online advertising will become the largest medium for marketers by 2018 as it will escalate global spending to 13%!
So if you’re looking to stay on top of the trends, take a look at this seven top business trends for 2018 to stay one step ahead of your competitors in the coming new year.
1. Influencer marketing with social media
Did you know that 92% people believe an advertisement or information when endorsed by influencers? With more people now than ever tweeting, chatting and sharing their lives online, influencer marketing has become one of the most affordable marketing strategy to grow your business in 2018.
What is influencer marketing (IM)
Today, bloggers and active social media members with a high following are believed as genuine and accurate by online communities.IM is a clever way of convincing your customers to buy your products using industry experts to vouch for your company and brand.
By striking a mutually beneficial deal, you can reach and convert the target audience by using an influencer in your marketing strategy. Scientists believe brands will to create AI Influencers akin to mascots to digitally represent their mission and emerge as key influencer by 2018.
Success Stories of Businesses That Have Used Influencer Marketing
GM used influencers such as Guy Kawasaki, Jason Falls, Joseph Jaffe, Robert Scoble and Dom Sagolla to boost the impressions of Chevy Volt. General Motors also created an exclusive website for the creamy-layer of their customer base to target car troubleshooting.
Redwood Creek Wine
Blaze the Trail was a mission created by Redwood Creek Wine to voice sustainable lifestyle intertwined with nature. They offer simplified ways of DIY winemaking to FAQ from prominent winemakers to emerge as a unanimous and authoritative voice as a winemaker.
How to Use Influencer Marketing for Your Business
To tap into the social media and create a hype, your influencer campaign must focus on information more than conversions.
- Create an estimate of the budget.
- Write an action plan for your goals.
- Identify Relevant Influencers
- Conduct an in-depth research on key influencers in your niche.
- Go to Google, Facebook or other social media platforms.
- Type your niche in quotes along with the keyword “blogger” or “influencer” such as, “SEO Blogger” or “Hair Styling Influencer”.
Assess the Influencer Hotspots
In order to reach the target audience as well as the influencer, you must determine where the majority of the audience hangs out such as popular blogs, forums or websites in both your industry and the influencer industry.
- Define the total number of influencers you want to use.
- Connect informally via social media with the influencer.
Test the Success or Failure
It is important to review the success or failure of your goals every few months to assess the impact of your campaign.
- Eliminate the influencers who do not add value to your brand.
- Revamp the contract of influencers who helped to make online impressions.
2. Beacon technology in marketing
An advanced technology that lets the customer and vendor know each other’s location, beacon technology when used tactically can make huge impacts for locking your target audience.
What is Beacon Technology?
Akin to a lighthouse, beacon is a tiny radio transmitter often with Bluetooth. It sends out a signal which can be seen or picked up by others in the same vicinity. Beacon does not track the customer but helps to connect with the broadcasted signal.
Referred to as proximity technology, small businesses can use the broadcast signal to target the specific needs of customers or their shopping experience or to find items offline.
Success Stories of Businesses That Have Used Beacons
The retail store installed the biggest beacon of the era at its stores in San Francisco and New York with up to 4000 devices throughout the department. With the assistance of Shopkick, Macy’s tracks the movements of customers within the store to recommend personalized products.
The music festival app introduced beacon help as early as 2014. Today, if you own an American Express Card and are at Coachella, you can win prizes depending on your location at the festival. Moreover, you can also navigate around the festival with accuracy and planning, using a beacon app.
How to Use Beacon Technology for Boosting Your Marketing Impact
Enhanced Mobile Shopping Experience
- Send out deals and promotional offers depending on where the customer is.
- Alert the customer with offers based on their past shopping history.
Beacon helps you connect with the customer directly as statistics show 84% people use smartphones during shopping. From personalized welcome messages to punctual discounts, a beacon can target your customers with promotional ads too.
- Ask to link the social media accounts of your customers while they are in the store.
- Actively seek feedback from customers.
As blockchain nullifies the middlemen often seen in centralized transactions such as notaries and brokers, 2018 will see many companies decentralizing their transactional modules.
What is Blockchain
Expected to revamp the business architecture with dimension data in 2018, Blockchain works by decentralizing transactions. It does so by recording the cryptocurrency transactions in a chronological order. Perhaps the most prominent digital currency using blockchain is known as Bitcoin.
Success Stories of Businesses That Have Used Blockchain
A smart renting company lets users into blockchain technology using escrow and smart funding. Paid via blockchain contracts, Slock lets the customer and seller approve transactions via their smartphones using a Smart Lock.
Employed to reduce overhead costs in international transactions, MasterCard provided transparent ledgers of the transaction to the parties involved in the transactions. Having over 35 patents for the new technology, MasterCard uses cryptocurrency Ethereum for global contracts.
How to Use Blockchain to Grow Your Business
As a blockchain is infamous for storing accurate information for every transaction, citing a problem is effortless and quick. Tracking supply has helped vendors such as Walmart to track food movements within 2.2 seconds while it took 7 days sans the blockchain technology.
Also referred to as Escrow protection, smart contract lets both parties in a contract carry out transactions automatically minus downtime that disrupts the ongoing contract. The unbendable rules of blockchain override financial regulations.
From reducing the total time to cite an error to completing cross-border transactions without a hassle, blockchain can also open you to the advanced cryptocurrency. Bitwage is such a company that uses Bitcoin to roll salaries to employees.
The most awaited business evolution in 2018 will be automation of business processes.
What is Automation
Also referred to as business Automation, BPA or business process automation is a technique of creating an automatic series of actions to run a business. For marketing, automation eases customer data integration to advertising and lead generation while business automation speeds up tasks by bringing down capital costs.
Success Stories of Businesses that Have Used Automation
The first retail robot of the nation now works as a shopping assistant at Orchard Supply Hardware in San Jose. Lowes’ robots are called oshbots that help customers and managers locate items in the store.
One of the most popular websites right now, Buzzfeed has a diverse variety of automated emails according to the user’s choice such as Health, Beauty, Animals, and Entertainment and so on.
How to Use Automation for Your Business
Combine and Track Data
As automation processes can be used to track leads in addition to generating them, it will help your business grow. When specific software for BPA are used, it helps to filter the research and grow the business quicker than while using manual processes.
You can use MailChimp, Aweber or Mad Mimi to send thousands of emails at once to your subscribers. As the same can be scheduled to fit with a routine sans micromanagement, automated email services are a must-have for any e-commerce today.
With up to 96% B2B marketers using videos to promote and boost reach and engagement, 2018 is expected to bring video ads to search engines too.
What is Video Marketing?
Using video or motion picture content to create promotional ads about your product is called video marketing. From answering questions to creating trailers for events and even 3600-view of the products, there are many ways to use video marketing to grow your customers exponentially.
Success Stories of Businesses That Have Effectively Used Video Marketing
All you need to begin live video to engage quick viewers is the social media platform Facebook and a good webcam. With live streaming via Facebook Benefit Cosmetics added over 25000 views to their shows!
By providing onboarding videos to proactively use the services, a prominent graphic design service named Canva used tutorial videos. Until then, users shied away from using the design platform, which changed drastically after introducing the video content.
How to Use Video Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business
Most people find it easy watch a video for speedy comprehension than reading or listening to audio. You can create videos after asking questions on your official business forum with customers or conducting polls to find trending questions.
Demonstration of Products
Short videos can be created to provide a demo of your product and how it works in reality. It can show the functionality of the product, benefits and how it should be used for optimum performance.
The current trend in video marketing involves featuring your best fans to give a video testimonial as 51% marketers vouch for video as the best tool for ROI. With 65% visual learners, video testimonials boost the emotional engagement with the content.
6. Mobile Optimization
What is Mobile Optimization?
Modifying the design, content, font and resolution of your webpage to adapt to mobile screens is known as mobile optimization. You can also use mobile optimization with high-end tools such as WordPress to automatically alter the website content to match with the user’s device.
Success Stories of Businesses that Have Used Mobile Optimization
A travel website, Skyscanner optimized their website to mobile and furthermore to the world of apps to receive a huge response from the customers. It grew 12 times more users than the usual rate with 10 times better loyalty and engagement.
A Latin American home delivery services for commodities to cash, Rappi engaged 50% more users 2.8 times better results after optimizing the service for mobile users.
How to Optimize your Business for Mobile Technology 2018
Responsive Web Design (RWD)
Using an appealing font style and size that is easily readable on multiple smartphones is the best cue for an RWD. Your loading speed to landing page strategies, many factors come together to create an RWD.
Using Mobile SEO Strategies
With half the traffic online accounting to mobile users it is easier to convert your traffic with mobile optimization. Moreover, Google favors websites with mobile optimization if your page is SEO rich and uniquely valuable.
Tools to Automatically Adapt Webpage for Mobiles
You can also use CRM tools that can automatically modify your page to fit the width and specs of the mobile viewed from. You can also use sales funnel techniques to other professional services to improve the engagement and conversion rate of your content.
7. Augmented Reality
With Apple and Google set to bring ARKit and ARCore, Augmented Reality will be the biggest trend of 2018, thanks to the mushroom growth of mobile users in the past decade.
What is Augmented Reality (AR)
Distinct from Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality refers to the enhancement of one’s physical world while AR displaces the reality with a simulation.
Success Stories of Business that used AR
The official IKEA AR app offers the experience of digitally trying-out furniture for your home using the internet and a smartphone.
As Pokemon Go received $600 million in mobile AR technology, there are no limits to how you can implement the same for a business today.
How to use Augmented Reality in Your Business
For employees and customers, AR can bring varied goodies. While employees from remote destinations can be trained using AR, customer feedback and engagement spikes with AR apps. It is expected that in the future, users can repair things via a smartphone by pointing the camera at it.
You can use the technology to offer your customers to do a trial run of your product with AR. For example, if you own a jewelry shop, create an AR app for customers to try the jewelry before purchase.
In a Nutshell
With critics discussing digital revolution to augmented reality and robot assistants, 2018 is expected to change the face of advertising as we know it. Statistics predict 47% businesses will develop official apps for their business by the end of 2018!
Are you ready for the challenging trends of business growth for 2018?