Bring me Data: The Importance of Data
Data Importance: I started my professional career as an account manager selling Proctor and Gamble products. Back then, we had a saying around the office – “In God We Trust. For everything else, bring me data”. Hearing this saying for the first time, I couldn’t stop but smile. But the more I thought about it, the deeper I understood the importance of data gathering in the business decision-making process. Today, as a product manager for a consumer goods company, I understand the importance of receiving, storing, accessing and analyzing data. The raw data is only as good as what is done with it. Getting good results is like fishing – you have to know what you’re doing, and you need the right equipment. I use data for different aspects of our business development and product management strategies:
- By understanding where products are in their life cycle and within a product line. Strategic decisions can be made in order to identify new markets and products. Plotting all of our product lines (and products within these ranges) has given us a clear view where the company should invest and innovate and which SKUs are ready to be liquidated. Creating and managing product life cycles requires ongoing analysis and the ability to drill down into the data available in efficient and productive ways.
- Managing consumer and customer trends enables the creation of better offerings for accounts and users. It can also identify new business opportunities with existing accounts. For example, we’ve found that two of our accounts (which make up about 15% of our total business) buy only a handful of SKUs out of our product assortment. Using that information and data concerning purchasing trends, we were able to put together a compelling offer – a win-win situation.
- Budgeting and forecasting are essential to any business. Balancing inventory levels is crucial to bringing operational costs down and raise rate metrics. Using data to calculate moving averages, account for seasonality and cyclicality is key to any good forecast.