The amount of data companies deal with can feel crushing. In order to stay competitive, they have to harvest and harness information on every product they develop, every sale they make, and every candidate they hire.
The good news is that as data volumes grow, so do analysis tools and techniques. Artificial intelligence is able to crunch numbers exponentially faster than human beings. AI-based analysis tools are now just as accessible to startups searching for their footing as they are to mega-corporations in Midtown skyscrapers.
Key Business Data Types
Today, the question isn’t whether to use AI; it’s where to use it. With enough time and money, almost any unstructured data pool can be tamed. But these types of key business data hold insights that are ripe for the picking:
1. Customer Demographics and Psychographics
Chances are, you have a good idea of who’s interested in your products. But it’s one thing to guess at and another thing to know who your customers are.
Start with demographics. AI data enrichment tools like IntroHive can scrape data like titles and companies from email signatures and add them to CRM profiles with more than 90% accuracy. Others search social media and public records for data like home address, age, and gender.
Psychographics are a little more prone to error, but they can be predicted with just a few pieces of data per customer. From details like age, income, and occupation, Crobox can make predictions about goals and habits. The feature isn’t available quite yet, but Microsoft Dynamics 365 will soon estimate a customer’s affinity for certain brands and industries from details like birth date and zip code.
On an individual level, richer customer profiles let you personalize outreach. Taken together, they allow you to create more marketing materials and spend your business development budget more efficiently.
2. Customer Conversations
AI-infused chatbots can streamline customer service, but most don’t do much in terms of analysis. Five9’s contact center software includes an AI feature, known as Five9 Genius, that ingests unstructured data from chat sessions, emails, and other channels to understand the customer’s intent. Five9 Genius then routes customer calls to the agent most suited to take care of them.
Tools like Five9 Genius work by converting speech to text and then analyzing them for similarities. They’re great ways to monitor consumer sentiments and keep tabs on the frequency of certain questions.
Use those insights to inform product development, marketing, and customer service. If customers keep calling in about a website page that won’t load, for example, then the tech team should probably take a look under the hood. Repeated questions about use cases might indicate gaps in blog content.
3. Product Queries
We were all taught at some point that the customer knows best. Although this might ring true in certain retail environments, customers don’t always know what they’re looking for. Use data to point them in the right direction.
Thanks to AI, recommendation and matching tools have gotten a lot smarter. Urban Outfitters employs a “scan + shop” tool that allows customers to take photos of barcodes, signs, or the company catalogue in order to find matching products. Pinterest does something similar with its Lens technology, which suggests pins that look similar to what users have already clicked or pinned.
Then, dig into the metadata. If you’re an apparel company, the looks that customers search for might give you a jump on next season’s fashion trends. If everyone searches for a past design of your product, perhaps your last update went in the wrong direction.
4. Competitor Assets
In order to build a better company, you need to know what’s already out there. But spending hours Googling businesses like yours can be time-consuming and counterproductive, and there’s no guarantee you’ll actually find what you need.
AI can churn through millions of business data points — quantitative and qualitative — to find what you’re looking for in minutes. TrademarkVision can scan through trademarks and logos to see if your design infringes on any copyrights or looks too similar to a competitor’s. Content optimization systems can see what has already been written to give you better ideas for what to write.
There’s no sense in trying to differentiate your brand with marketing materials that look like copycats of your competitors. Let AI steer you toward something more original.
You’ve got banks of key business data all around you. You might not see any patterns in them, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Ask AI to take a look; you might be surprised what it digs up.