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For many companies today, lack of customer data is not an issue. In fact, the problem for brands is not about the availability of data—rather it’s how to turn large amounts of data into action that will drive profit.

Tyler Douglas, CMO of Vision Critical, recently spoke with MSNBC-TV about this topic. While MSNBC-TV’s segment is about how small businesses can get in on data, it also highlights the importance of understanding and catering to your target audience regardless of the size of your business.

Here are three highlights from Tyler’s interview that show how brands today can turn data into a real competitive brand advantage:

  1. Use data to improve customer experience.

While the discussion on big data generally focus on getting new customers, the real opportunity that data provides is on improving the experience of current customers.

“It is easier to get a customer to spend more with you than it is to win a new customer,” Tyler offers in the video.

  1. Involve your customers.

MSNBC-TV’s segment featured a bar in the US that used gamification and customer data to engage patrons.

“Gamification is an example of big data in that you are engaging people to do something,” Tyler explains. The type of gaming engagement that the bar uses is an effective tool for collecting data about customer preferences—data which they can then use to increase profits.

  1. Get a 360-degree view.

Relying on just one source of data can be misleading and dangerous. Tyler explains: “A point-of-sale system is a data-collection system. What is changing is the ability to open up the black box of that data and combine it with other data sets that you might have.”

So how do you know which sources to gather data from? It’s all about having an end goal in mind. “If you know what you’re looking to accomplish, you can be very targeted [and] very pragmatic about what you want to do and the meaningful data that you want to pull,” Tyler says.

Yes, transactional data can show the what, who, when and where—but if you’d like to truly understand your customers, then you shouldn’t stop there. Many brands are starting to use online customer communities to more effectively engage people on an on-going basis and understand the ‘why’ of their purchase decisions.

To learn more, please watch the video below or visit the American Express OPEN forum website

The enterprise guide to online communities

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Kelvin Claveria

Kelvin Claveria was formerly a Content Marketing Manager at Vision Critical.

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