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The How-To: Using Consumer Intelligence To Revolutionize How Your Business Uses Its Data Consumer intelligence is all about analyzing data to get inside your consumers' heads.

By Lama Abdelbarr

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Businesses are often sitting on mounds of data that are not utilized. John Kelly, IBM's "father of Watson," says that 80% of data is "untouched," meaning it's never actually used to make improvements or changes deemed necessary by the customer.

Crazy, right?

You might have state-of-the-art martech tools sitting in your martech stack- but how can you use all these data sources to see the bigger picture, and unlock the full potential of your marketing and media investments?

It's as simple as integration.

Instead of keeping your customer data siloed, with different data sets spread out across different ecosystems, businesses need to start recognizing the value of connecting these data sources. Having one integrated customer intelligence platform that helps businesses understand their customers' conversations from all data sources can be a real game-changer.

By gaining access to analysis of first-party data (e.g. customer service emails, chats, surveys, and call center transcripts) as well as third-party data (social media platforms, blogs, forums, news, etc.), businesses can gain a full, real-time understanding of what their customers are talking about, what issues they are facing, and what their sentiment is.

So, where do you start? Let's break it down into 4 simple steps:

1. Use your customer experience data While obvious, this is surprisingly a step many businesses forget to do. Or simply don't have the time for it. It is, however, an integral step in understanding exactly what your customers are talking about, what issues they are having, and what their sentiment towards your brand is. This is data that all businesses have at their fingerprints- customer service emails, chats, surveys, call center transcripts, etc.

2. Analyze your data using artificial intelligence (AI) tools It's no surprise that many businesses don't even make it past the first step. Going through all these first party data sources is a very time-consuming and tedious feat. AI now makes it possible to understand mounds of data at scale. Invest in a powerful AI-powered tool that provides you with actionable insights. This will free up your time and energy for the next steps.

3. Compare your first party data with social and web data for complete customer intelligence Avoid tunnel vision and silos. Get all your data sitting side by side for a full picture of your customer experience. By combining first-party data with social and online data, you don't run the risk of missing any critical pain points that need to be addressed.

4. Understand how these efforts are driving your business Now, it's time to understand how you can drive bottom-line impact. This final step is all about making changes and improvements using the first and third party data that has been gathered. But -don't forget- that without tracking results closely, all this work will be in vain. You need to have a clear understanding of the correlation between your customer intelligence efforts and business impact metrics (sales data, CRM data, retention rates, etc.) That way, you can scientifically analyze the impact of your actions, and, by extension, their impact on your customers.

By leveraging an integrated customer intelligence platform and completing these four steps, you will be able to not only optimize current efforts but also to create, target, and budget for future marketing campaigns that are truly customer-centric.

Related: Five Data-Driven Improvements To Your Content Marketing Strategy

Lama Abdelbarr

Digital Communications Lead - Middle East & Africa, Talkwalker

Lama Abdelbarr leads on digital communications for Middle East & Africa at Talkwalker.

Talkwalker is a media monitoring and analytics company that empowers over 2,000 brands and agencies to optimize the impact of their communication efforts. Currently, they are the only media monitoring platform that analyzes videos- using Talkwalker, brands can get a 360° dynamic brand view with image, video, and text analysis in one easy-to-use, powerful platform. The platform provides users with access to data across traditional, social, and digital channels globally and covers regional languages, including English, Arabic, French, Hindi, Urdu, and Tagalog. Talkwalker’s proprietary image and video recognition technology gathers 250% more brand mentions than traditional print and online monitoring.

Talkwalker has offices in New York, Luxembourg, San Francisco, Frankfurt, and Singapore. It is also the home of Talkwalker Alerts, a free alerting service used by over 500,000 communications and marketing professionals worldwide.

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