by Oluwaseun Kola-Fasanu
What is data gathering? Data collection is an extensive process of collecting information to make direct observations and answer open-ended questions. Data collection is a research component in all study fields, including physical and social sciences, humanities, and business.
In the modern age of business, data is power. Businesses use data gathering to gain real-time insights into a particular issue or workflow process. Accurate data collection is necessary to make informed business decisions, ensure quality assurance, and maintain research integrity.
“With data collection, ‘the sooner the better’ is always the best answer.” — Marissa Mayer.
Gathering customer data must be a top priority for any business. But simply gathering data in itself is not necessarily helpful. The data collection techniques that you utilize are critical as well. That data needs to have the right context and structure to be usable. Otherwise, it is just a random set of facts with no real direction for how it may be used in a business setting. Data with the proper context will help you to make real, data-backed decisions that drive your company forward.
Data Gathering Methods
Let’s take a look at some of the common data gathering methods that companies use to collect data on prospects and customers.
- Surveys and Forms
These include: in-person surveys, online/web surveys, mobile surveys, phone surveys.
In interviews, the interviewer collects data directly from the interviewee. Often, interview data is highly-personalized and can provide unique insights that businesses would not otherwise have access to through traditional surveys.
- Focus Groups
If there are no resources to conduct one-on-one interviews with their audience, focus groups can help to collect a wide range of data and opinions. Most focus groups will have 3–10 people in them, with one person moderating the discussion.
Simply observing customers and prospects can be another great way to collect data. Those that are conducting the observation may be participating while they collect the data or simply observing. Naturally, it’s only effective in small-scale situations.
Data gathering provides businesses with several benefits, including:
- Data collection helps businesses learn more about their customers.
- Understand what is important to customers on a deeper level.
- segment prospects and customers to deliver better-automated marketing campaigns that speak more directly to their biggest concerns as individuals and organizations.
- It improves decision making by facilitating data-backed decisions.
- It helps to improve reporting and forecasting, allowing for more accurate long-term outlooks within an organization.
- Through knowing their customers, businesses know where to focus their efforts moving forward. This helps them to increase their revenue and deliver better experiences.
One good example is Netflix, which uses customer data to determine what kinds of shows and movies are most popular. Then, it finds and buys similar scripts, assuming that if its members liked the original style, they would probably like the new, similar ones, too. Through this simple, data-based method, Netflix was able to increase its business value by more than $50 billion in 2020 as people navigated the COVID-19 pandemic through entertainment
The amount of data generated in real time is immense. This has created oceans of data from which companies can derive real business value and make better business decisions. The big data market is predicted to grow by 20% this year, and in 2020, every human generated 1.7 megabytes (of data) every second. The big data and analytics market will be worth $103 billion by 2023.
It’s important because making smart business decisions saves organizations a lot of money while helping them identify new opportunities to generate revenue.
Our ability to gather and interpret data is improving every day. And because 2022 will present new and increased challenges, the best bet for success is to utilize information with every practical tool available. Businesses and companies will have to decide what’s going to be most relevant, analyze with transparency, and then move forward with confidence.