Whether you’re a small business owner or a C-suite executive within a more prominent firm, you’re interested in seeing your business grow. Since 2008, companies have taken a keen interest in “Big Data”. But as data becomes more relevant by the day, many managers still wonder what data consultants do.
So, what do data consulting companies do? Data consulting companies help businesses collect and analyse customer data to maximise profits. A business can get advice regarding programs to use for data collection, which data points to track, and how to further target the right audience.
In this article, you will learn about the different ways in which a data consulting company can help businesses, small and large, perform better. Among these are:
- Help collect big data
- Improve analytics to make sense of data
- Help figure out a business’s audience
- Optimise product development to entice the said audience
- Pinpoint a brand’s blind spots
Data consulting companies consult businesses regarding their data practices. But unlike cyber-security consultants who mainly focus on data security advice, data consultants aim at improving data collection and analytics.
From simple processes like installing Google Analytics to recommending bespoke multi-channel setups that can track customer behaviour across various social media, data consulting firms can offer a range of services. The highest-valued among these is ‘big data’ collection.
Unlike regular data collection (like getting your customer’s email through a sign-up form), big data tracks a large enough set of behaviours to produce a customer profile. This practice is beneficial in predicting customer preferences.
Very few businesses have zero data collection or analytics. But even fewer businesses have their analytics right. The average company has analytics for the sake of having them but doesn’t have a plan of action that ties each data point to a specific action.
A data consulting company helps business owners figure out what each data point means and what a business can do to use every piece of data to its maximum advantage.
The following oversimplification can illustrate this point: Suppose you have a lottery ticket but don’t know there is a lottery in the first place. You can’t get anything from the ticket.
A data consultant is someone who tells you that the ticket you have is worth something and how you can cash it. Each valuable data point is equivalent to a lottery ticket. And it is with the right consultant’s advice that you can make the most of these data.
Among the data points that you might have, are the audience demographics. These are relatively easy to obtain and are often baked into the analytics systems of most platforms.
From email campaign programs to Facebook ads, almost every contemporary communication and publishing channel automatically tracks audience demographics data.
A data consultant can help you gain more data that can make sense of your demographics. Knowing that teenagers like your product aren’t enough, but knowing what specifically about your product engages them the most is.
Facebook, Google, and almost all tech giants record the time different users spend on their respective platforms. Even smartphones record ‘screen on’ time. From there, the platforms report which age group, gender, political leaning, and interests yield the maximum screentime.
If you have a physical shop, you can replicate the same data point by tracking how long different customers spend browsing. But without a data consultant, you wouldn’t know:
- Which program to use for this
- How to do it in a way that minimises liability and respects privacy
- What to do with the information
Cross-referencing the browsing time with purchases per age group would help you further segment your audience.
The Pareto principle suggests that 20% of the effort yields 80% of the results. Data consultants help you find the 20% of products that populate 80% of the bottom line, 20% of the audience that buys 80% of the products, and 20% of strategies that work 80% of the time.
As mentioned earlier, data consultants help you track and process important data. A bulk of this data fits research and development (R&D) goals. You can see ahead of the market by catching trends before they peak.
This is in part because you are, in fact, ahead of the market. All the brands that seem to have significant foresight have excellent data consulting companies on their side.
Finally, businesses that know they can be doing better hire data consultants to help them figure out scientifically how they can improve.
Often, a few blind spots hold back brilliant businesses. Data consultants simply expose these and provide data-driven strategies to overcome the resulting performance issues.
Business blind spots often fall into one of these categories:
|Blind spot||Data Consultant’s Solution|
|Not seeing a downward trend||Setting up a solution to track what’s hot in a market|
|Missing out on innovation opportunities||Collect data regarding new demand within a segment|
|Losing customers||Build data collection methods that allow businesses to reconnect with old clients|
|Targeting and messaging issues||Help figure out the best audience to target|
6. Build Predictive Models
One challenge that a business may face is anticipating customer demand or spend, employee attrition, transport incidents, or any other inherently unpredictable process. A data consultancy can analyse your data and use AI to learn from the past to predict the future.
For example, we could build and deploy a machine learning system which will predict on a daily basis how much each customer is likely to spend, based on features learned from the past few years’ transactions. Or a model to predict the risk of a clinical trial failing, based on the text of the trial protocol.
Predictive models have the added advantage of helping to understand causal relationships. For example, a predictive model that highlights employees who are likely to leave a company, could also help executives understand what factors cause employees to leave. If employees with young children are especially likely to go elsewhere according to the model, then the company’s parental leave policies may be the first place to look.
7. Introduce an Objective Third-Party Perspective
Finally, one can chalk up the value of a data consulting company to the fact that it allows a business owner and/or manager to see things from a fresh perspective.
Unlike business consultants, data consultants’ advice isn’t built solely around their market history but on factual data. As a result, the opinion of a data consultant is far more scientifically valid.
Almost any business that deals with a large volume of customers or sells/publishes anything online can benefit from a data consulting firm’s services.
These businesses include:
- Chain outlets
- E-commerce brands
- Entertainment brands
- Travel businesses
- Education businesses
From helping chain outlets figure out which locations are the likeliest to yield profit to helping entertainment brands figure out their next hit before launch, data consulting companies occupy a crucial role in the modern economy.
These consulting services are available for businesses of all sizes and can help almost any business perform or pivot better.