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by Gillian
on April 10, 2014

If you're to believe a recent post by Marius Moscovici, founder and CEO of Metric Insights, the title of this post is a trick question. That's because with recent innovations in measurement and data collection, he argues, every company is a data collection company.

Moscovici talks about "The Spotify Effect" in reference to the popular streaming music service that, like Pandora before it, takes a user's music preferences and predicts what else they will like. Spotify and other companies, like Pandora but also Netflix, Amazon, and Dropbox, collect user data and use that data to improve the user experience. The ultimate goal here is to use data to turn a casual user into a loyal, paying customer. And no matter what you company does -- if you sell grape juice or graphic design -- that's what you want. Collecting and mining data is going to be the future of all successful businesses.

But when you're not Amazon, what can you do to participate in this data revolution? When you're still trying to draw customers to your site, how can you get enough actionable data to make smart business decisions?

Social media.

At ManoByte, we know the importance of building up your social network as an effective and affordable way to launch your business. But once you have fans and followers is where the social media data fun really starts. You can utilize your social networks to figure out what your customers and potential customers care about. Do this by paying attention to what they post on Twitter, watching how they engage on Facebook, and heck, by asking them outright.

So while you may not yet have the capabilities, of say, Macy's, which uses data to price inventory in real time, you do have the ability to use online data and customer behaviors to improve the customer experience.
Further, the social media campaigns that you run will give you that much more insight for your customers. You can learn which demographics cares about what, which you can extrapolate not only to improve your marketing campaigns, but to improve your business overall.

As your business grows, and more customers are drawn directly to your site, you can use your analytics to collect even more data and optimize your offerings for the best results for your bottom line.
No matter what your business plan says or which products are listed on your e-commerce site, congratulations, you are now a data company.

How are you currently using customer data? How is it working for you? Let us know in the comments.