As we’ve seen over the past few years, the world can quickly change in unprecedented ways. This highlights a key point for businesses looking to be relevant and stay relevant long-term: It’s better to be proactive than reactive.
Granted, this is not a groundbreaking revelation. However, it’s not always clear how to be proactive in preparing for the unknown. We’d all like to feel ready to navigate uncertainty and handle change as it happens. But the very nature of change, uncertainty, and the unknown is that they’re surrounded by question marks. So, what’s the trick to operating with confidence and agility amidst market shifts and ongoing consumer evolution?
While it would be nice to have a magic bullet solution, there isn’t one. However, there are strategies and tactics that will position your brand for long-term success. The overarching theme is being data-driven in the way you make decisions and continue developing your brand. So, here are three keys to doing just that.
1. Keep your existing data organized and active.
More often than not, brands are sitting on a treasure trove of insight. Many of the questions they have and challenges they face can be addressed by tapping into their existing data. But just as often, those insights are fragmented, siloed, or never fully realize their potential. By organizing and assessing currently held information, brands can establish what is currently known, identify data gaps, and determine how best to move forward expanding their insights inventory.
This foundational knowledge plays some important roles in our ever-changing world. It can serve as performance benchmarks, historical points of reference, and a framework when planning future projects. Over time, as surrounding environments shift and perspectives change, older data can be seen in a different light and new application opportunities can emerge. But to yield those benefits, this insights vault needs to remain unlocked, organized, and accessible. This is a great first step in proactively setting ourselves up for long-term success.
It’s worth noting, this is easier said than done. Getting lost in the weeds, falling down the rabbit hole, drowning in data – whichever adage you prefer, feeling overwhelmed can happen quickly. A few months ago, I wrote an entire article series about “Unlocking the Data Vault” which goes deeper into this topic. So if you’re looking for more, you’ll find it here.
2. Build a holistic customer insights strategy.
Part of the reason many brands have a fragmented and siloed data inventory is that data collection projects are done on an ad-hoc basis with a singular focus. A question arises or a decision needs to be made, so data is collected to address those needs. But moving forward, the long-term value of those insights is unclear because they’ve already served their intended purpose.
Instead, developing a holistic customer insights strategy will ensure new data serves an immediate purpose while also contributing big-picture value. It guides project planning in ways that consider how one piece fits into the overarching insights framework. This way, as the data inventory grows and expands, it applies to a variety of situations and scenarios. So, when the unexpected occurs, multi-purpose insights are available to guide decision making.
3. Regularly update customer personas and journey maps.
Identifying key trends and patterns as they emerge is a vital aspect of being proactive rather than reactive. And having a structured approach with real-world implications is a great way to guide those efforts. When they are detailed and organized, both customer personas and journey maps serve that purpose.
From consumer behaviors and preferences to brand touchpoints and experiences, the most important topics and categories are already laid out. So, making persona and journey map updates a regular practice will consistently provide opportunities to identify emerging trends and patterns. As environments shift and evolve, brand development decisions to be made based on up-to-date insights rather than assumptions or hypotheses.
In an ever-changing world, operating with agility and confidence requires accurate, reliable, and relevant information. The brands who are proactive in leveraging data-driven insights to guide decision making will be the ones positioned for long-term success. For over 35 years, we’ve partnered with brands of all sizes across a variety of industries in doing just that. Give us a call to learn more about how a MacKenzie partnership will empower your brand to be relevant and stay relevant as markets and consumers evolve.