Are You Capturing Data Effectively?

We’ve all heard that data is the new digital gold. Companies like Amazon, Google, and even your local flower shop thrives on capturing data from users to make decisions, drive strategy, and create effective marketing campaigns. Sure, that’s great and all, but how does one get started? Even if you do start capturing data, how do you know it’s the right kind of data, or even enough? On the journey toward understanding data and what you need to do to correctly harness it, we’re going to help you understand exactly what data is, and how we can utilize it to work for you.

What do we mean by “data?”

In basic terms, data is a set of collected and that serves a purpose. Generally, data is used for analysis, but it also serves basic purposes such as an email address connected with a person’s name in order to send out personalized email.  At the highest level, there are two types of data, quantitative and qualitative. Let’s break down these two terms that are often used in statistical language.

Quantitative – This is data metric that you can represent as counts or values, which generally is represented as a number. Examples include: number of times a customer visited your website, how many seconds they viewed a particular page, or even number of purchases made.

Qualitative – Generally data that is represented by a name, some kind of symbol, or a number code (such as a customer id). Other examples of qualitative data include: gender, location, citizenship, or even answers to a yes/no question. For VSG, this kind of information is helping when setting up marketing email automation.

Where can I start capturing data?

Those forms you fill out when signing up for a service? That’s one method that leads to capturing data. From just filling out a form a company will get your name, ip location (general location where you located), email address, the name of the browser you are using, mobile or desktop device, and other requested information such as company name.

Other ways to start capturing it include installing tracking codes through a service such as Google Analytics. This will give you information on every visitor to your website such as where they are visiting from, what pages they are looking at, and even what your most popular content / product is.

What do I do with the data after it’s been captured?

Collecting all this data may look like just numbers, email addresses, and names, but it is actually powerful information that can help you better understand your customer behavior.  Generally, this kind of data should be stored in a database with various fields so that you can make an analysis.  In short, you store all the data that is relevant that has been captured.

You can use this stored data to import into email marketing tools like which will allow you to send personalized email based on your data collected and even segment out your emails so that for instance you could send customers between the ages of 30 and 40 a different email than those customers between 40 and 50.

What data have to do with marketing?

As we wrote in an early blog post regarding data usage by digital marketing agencies, data lets you see what a customer is doing before purchasing a product or service. As discussed in the article, effectively all this data helps you make better marketing decisions. You can see exactly which kind of customers purchased what and when. Understanding a person’s buying habits and patterns helps you segment users which in turn helps lead to better marketing.

Gaining insights. As we mentioned earlier, the data you capture that is qualitative will help you understand concepts such as which gender is purchasing what, where customers live, and personal details to use toward personalized marketing (sending an email with their name.). Understanding this kind of data helps you understand exactly which product or service is appealing to what category of customer.

Understanding usage. The quantitative data you capture using a tool such as Google Analytics as mentioned, helps you understand your overall performance. By understanding how long customers are looking at certain products and services or which are the most popular, can help you make decisions such as which products to promote, which pages may require fine tuning, or even what products to promote

A fictional example. Let’s take a fictional company that sells various T-shirts. Now lets’ take their fictional customer John. He’s a 30-year-old customer that spent 10 minutes on our website looking at a funny t-shirt about dogs.

Possible Remarketing Marketing Actions – Since he already signed up with our website, we could use this data to send him a customized email with more dog t-shirts, funny t-shirts, or even provide a discount on the shirt he was considering buying.

Generalized Marketing Actions – We can use the data across everyone who has signed up and hasn’t signed up to understand even more about our customer. A tool installed such as Google Analytics will show us in depth web traffic data details. We can see for our fictional example, where visitors are visiting from, what products they are looking at, and even the links they are clicking on the site.