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Published July 4th 2019

4 Ways To Use Data To Drive Product Strategy

Guest blogger Jennifer Seitz discusses the key ways product development can be revolutionized by building in consumer data

Data-driven product development has been a hot-button issue for marketers and product developers for the past few years — and for good reason.

Data provides tangible insights that help business owners and decision-makers pivot based on objective facts, not hunches or educated guesses.

The voice of the user is loud and clear for those who know how to listen for it. This is why savvy product development teams use consumer-focused data to tweak and improve their product strategy.

Let’s look at four key ways to find and use data to build better products.

Don’t miss key opportunities

Many companies have a wealth of data right under their noses, or available with little additional effort. Be sure to assess all points of customer contact to identify where data can be captured easily. Common missed opportunities happen with existing customers (especially those who use your app, log in to your website or interact routinely with your customer service team).

Robust customer relationship management solutions are a crucial ally in this pursuit. CRM integration with multiple data sources and systems can give a much richer picture of customer or prospect behavior, and produce more actionable insights.

Allowing data to remain in silos across the business means opportunities can be missed, to the detriment of product innovation and other benefits.

Examine all kinds of data

Your organization will have the ability to collect and analyze a variety of data sets including:

Unstructured data – This type of data is often captured in places online like tweets or forum posts. Your reservoir of unstructured and semistructured data from sources like SMS, voice search , call transcriptions, and social media presents a few challenges, however. To truly derive meaning and support your product strategy, these data sets will need additional processing.

Structured data – Structured data is defined as data that is organized, formatted, and deposited into an accessible place such as a database. The contents of the database are ready to be processed and analyzed. This type of data might be collected in multiple choice surveys, online profile fields, or forms.

Every business is different in the values it assigns to these two types of data.  Make sure your product strategy team is balancing the importance of both to get an accurate picture of what customers say and what they do. Missing out on one could mean losing crucial insights.

Create a mindset shift, if needed

Many people have grown accustomed to brainstorming in a boardroom with the goal of coming up with the next great product idea or iteration.

Incorporating data into this step often requires a mindset shift. Product strategy no longer has to rely on hunches and theories – instead, it can tap into all kinds of different data sources to build new things that answer consumer needs.

Put another way, smart product development should always temper “Well I think…” with “The data suggests that…”.

Align actions with data

Savvy product-driven organizations bake data into every aspect of their operations.

Marketers typically lead the charge to capture data across different channels, but sales, customer service, and operations also have insightful data sets.

By aligning your day-to-day operations with your data capture goals, your product development team will find the wealth of information it needs to optimize its strategy.

Look for opportunities to break down data silos. And, better yet, make proactive data sharing and analysis a regular part of every product development initiative.

Jennifer Seitz, MBA, is a writer for TechnologyAdvice.com.

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