How to Collect Data: A Quick Guide for Businesses

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How to Collect Data: A Quick Guide for Businesses

Last Updated on March 5, 2023 by

How does your business collect data? What do you use it for? And are your data collection methods secure and legal?

The importance of data for business use continues to grow as competition rises.

Sixty-four percent of small businesses now own a website. Just under half of all customers now share feedback online. Capturing leads through web forms outstrips email and SEO advertising.

This quick guide shows you how to collect data correctly and how best to use it.

Read on to learn about the benefits and methods of collecting data. Discover how data governance should play an essential role. And see how gathering useful statistics will directly impact your bottom line.

Importance of Data for Businesses

A recent survey by Deloitte found that 96% of businesses believe data analytics will become more important in the next three years.

Over half stated that collecting data will help their marketing efforts. The importance of data retention lies in making key business decisions. Yet, they see the structure and governance of data as a major challenge.

Benefits of Data Collection

Why did your sales figures drop last month? Are you able to compare them to a year prior? Or view an average?

Getting access to the right information at the right time is paramount to good management.

The benefits of data collection shape all areas of business, including:

  • Marketing – campaign performance and ad spend
  • Processing – R&D and optimization
  • Customer service – understanding consumer behaviors
  • Sales – predicting sales trends

The more data that you can analyze, the better informed you’ll be. You can anticipate upcoming challenges and prepare for them accordingly. You can also redirect funds to those areas that require them based on real-world results.

How to Collect Data Legally

Collecting data comes in various forms, from website statistics to social media interactions. However, storing and accessing this information legally requires you to know and follow local privacy laws.

In the US, data privacy regulations stem back to the Privacy Act of 1974. Although those rules apply to government bodies, their effects have filtered into the business world over the decades.

For example, the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 outlaws collecting user email addresses without their permission. GDPR governs European data privacy with strict fines placed on those companies that breach the rules.

How can you ensure that you follow the right practices while retaining control over your information workflow?

Data Governance

What’s the correct method to manage the collection, storage, access, and disposal of data legally? The answer is through data governance.

Data governance helps to organize and secure data while making it accessible to verified users. The process covers:

  • Securing data – ensuring compliance with data privacy laws and internal policies
  • Organizing data – identifying data sources and collection methods
  • Presentation – how to present data to personnel in the best way

There’s a lot more to consider than these three points, but they’re the foundation on which to build your data analytics platform. To learn more about data governance, please visit this website.

More Advice on Collecting Data for Businesses

The benefits of data collection are clear.

The more accurate information you can amass, the more informed decisions you’ll make. Data governance helps to manage that process in a legal and optimized way. Follow the rules at all times and make the best use of that information.

Overview

Collecting accurate and relevant data is a crucial aspect of business decision-making, as it helps to identify trends and patterns, customer preferences, and market gaps. The following guide provides a quick overview of the key steps businesses should take when collecting data.

  1. Define the Purpose of Data Collection Before collecting any data, businesses should determine the specific purpose of the data. This may include improving customer experience, identifying market trends, or optimizing operations. Defining the purpose helps to focus data collection efforts and ensure that the right data is collected.
  2. Determine the Type of Data to Collect Businesses should decide what data type is required to meet their goals. This may include customer demographics, website traffic, sales data, or social media engagement. Selecting the relevant data types ensures that businesses collect the information they need to make informed decisions.
  3. Choose a Data Collection Method There are several methods businesses can use to collect data, including surveys, focus groups, online analytics tools, or observational studies. The method chosen will depend on the type of data required and the audience being targeted.
  4. Design the Data Collection Instrument The data collection instrument should be designed to ensure that the data collected is accurate and relevant. The instrument should be easy to understand, unbiased, and collect data in a consistent and structured manner.
  5. Collect and Manage Data Once the data collection instrument is designed, businesses can begin collecting data. It’s important to ensure that the data collected is accurate, relevant, and error-free. The data should also be stored in a secure and accessible location.
  6. Analyze and Interpret Data Once data is collected, businesses need to analyze and interpret the information to make informed decisions. Data analysis tools can help to identify patterns and trends in the data, which can inform business strategy and decision-making.
  7. Communicate Findings Finally, businesses should communicate their findings to stakeholders to ensure that the data is used to inform business decisions. Communication may include written reports, presentations, or data visualization tools to help stakeholders understand the data and its implications.

Follow our blog for more advice on how to collect data.

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