Why Customer Data Matters

by Stephanie Evans Customer Experience Product Lead @ Segment

Picture this: your company just launched a new product.

Countless hours went into this launch. There’s the initial time spent researching your ideal customer and the problems this product will solve for them. There are weeks (perhaps months?) of engineering and design hours it takes to actually build your product and test that it works. And, let’s not forget, all the messaging, training, and coordination efforts that go into getting the word out about this launch.

Just getting your product to market feels like a herculean effort in itself. And it’s definitely cause for celebration when your product finally does launch. But, what really makes a product a success is what happens after launch.

After a big launch, it can be overwhelming to decide what to do next and what will yield the most traction — add the “killer” feature? Optimize your onboarding experience? Invest in SEO? Run ads on Facebook and LinkedIn?

Whether you’re the head of your own one-person company, or you’re a product manager in a 10,000+ person organization, the list of things you could do to grow product adoption or improve your user experience is infinite—which makes effective prioritization all the more challenging and critical.

So, what should you focus on to grow your business?

You need to know your customers to answer this question. And knowing your customers comes through data collection. Data gives you answers to questions like: Who are your ideal customers? Where did they come from? How are they using your product? What does it help them do?

Collecting, analyzing, and acting on data about how customers interact with your product (and combining that data with the traits that make them unique) will give you a clear direction for building a better product experience and growing product adoption for the long term.
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A customer data story

Here is a quick story to illustrate why customer data is critical to the success of any business.

Imagine you just launched a sneakers app in the iOS and Android app stores. In the first week, 500 people download your app, but none bought any sneakers. What do you do now?

You need to understand why app downloaders are not buying sneakers. To do that, you need to know more about them, such as who they are, how they’re finding you, how they’re using your app, and where they’re dropping off. Without this data, you’ll never know the cause of the problem at hand. And if you don’t know what the problem is, there’s no way to overcome it.

The solution? Data! Specifically, customer data that will help you make fast, informed decisions to grow your business.

But just having heaps of customer data in and of itself is not the goal.

Without a focused customer data strategy, you’ll have a hard time attracting, activating, and retaining customers.

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At Segment, we’ve helped tens of thousands of teams collect, analyze, and act on billions of pieces of customer data. They use this data to improve their product experience, develop lasting customer relationships, and ultimately grow their businesses.

We wrote this book to share with you what we’ve learned from our experiences.

Go to Chapter 2: Choosing Metrics That Matter →

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