New World + Old Data = Huh?

Posted: April 3, 2008 in Business Advice, Marketing, Strategy, Technology
Tags: ,

In a world where everything changes daily – why are you using the same old types of data you collected 5 years ago?

Name, address, phone number – these make sense – but only as a reference point.

Look at all the other information you collect. What assumptions was it collected on – and are they still valid?

Case in point: A few years ago I was advising a university on its prospecting operations. All their information cards and forms asked what sex the person was.

I asked – ‘What use is this?’. They didn’t know.

Its no use collecting information unless there is a use for it. Thats like buying food and never eating it!

We spent some time thinking about reasons why it might have been useful – Dormitories are all unisex now, no courses are single sex – mmmm.

Finally someone discovered that one of the universities community services departments used the information to feed a statistical model for predicting daycare needs. The reasoning was that females were statistically more likely to have children if returning to formal education, but the forecast was not accurate.

I suggested we replace the boring old ‘Sex’ box on the forms with ‘Returning to Formal Education’

This immediately opened up a whole bunch of different REAL opportunities for cross-sell/up-sell segmentation when combined with some of the other questions.

Check your data collecting assumptions – you may be surprised what golden opportunities are buried in the ‘Beacause we have always done it that way’


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