Bill's Conversational Musings

Use Your Data

There's Data Everywhere

Most companies don't think of themselves as a data company but they are. Today sensors can be located in almost anything. From shoes, televisions, computers, watches, phones, cars, refrigerators and more are all collecting or reporting data. Then there's user data like what customers buy, how often, related items, and where they live can reveal a lot of information about who they are.

Brand Company First. Data Company Second.

Most companies just want to sell a product or service. While doing that, they collect information on their customers. There's the first person data like usernames, passwords, gender, birthday and interests. Then there is contextual data like where you live, what sporting events you attend, where you are located (Geodata) and what you buy. Additionally, there is data through sensors. Your phone probably has at least a motion sensor, GPS, light sensor and a microphone. You get the idea.

Tell me how it applies to my application.

Give your customers relevant information that they can use to make informed choices. Customers are saying, "I want this. But, what do other think about this?"

Recently I purchased a hot air popcorn popper. Not to make tasty, fluffy popcorn but to roast coffee beans. As it turns out, you can purchase unroasted coffee beans; roast them for a few minutes in a popcorn popper. And, after resting for about 12-24 hours later, have fresh roasted coffee at a fraction of the price.

However, in my buying process, I read reviews about how the popper was not so good at popping popcorn. Some said it ran too hot while others said it threw the kernels out of the chamber. For me, however, my interests were in how well it roasted coffee as reported by others.

I had to search other sources on the Internet to find out that, yes, this was a good popper for what I wanted to use it for. One person even suggested that the company should re-brand the device as a coffee roaster as they could probably sell more units.

Use the data you have for good or for awesome.

Good - Customer reviews and ratings.

Having customer reviews and rating is pretty much standard for any site these days. However, is anyone reading it other than other consumers? Sometimes it feels like they are not. Posts, comments and complaints go unanswered sometimes adding to the frustration. Voice of the customer data is important. They will tell you what is working and what isn't.

Better - Help the customer understand your product as it applies to them and their situation.

If I'm looking at a shirt, I'd like to know what it looks like on a guy similar to me. Sure it looks great on the model but I'm not as tone as he is. How long did the shirt last? Did it fit well? Was it too hot to wear in the summer?

Best - Connect me with other people like me.

Help me find other people around me who like the things I do. Connect me with people who share the same interests as me or better yet, have been where I am and succeeded.


Using your data to benefit your customers is something more companies should strive to accomplish. When customers make more informed choices, there are fewer returns and refunds which directly impact the bottom line.

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