While it’s no secret that we are living in the data age, gaining a better understanding of how to acquire, manage, analyze, and use data is critical to achieving desired business outcomes. This process is referred to as an organization’s data strategy.
Since the late 1990s and early 2000s, there’s been an explosion in the amount of data being generated. The term big data has been used to describe the massive amount of data that is created and collected by organizations in various industries.
The data is used by organizations to gain insights, improve decision-making, guide product development, enhance the customer experience, and drive innovation, making your data strategy more important than ever.
What is a data strategy?
Data strategy refers to the framework or action plan that outlines how an organization will manage and leverage data as a strategic asset.
When developing a data strategy, it’s best to begin with the business problem or goal the organization wants to achieve. Starting with the data itself can be overwhelming because of the messiness and vastness of available data.
However, developing a data strategy that is in alignment with the company’s strategic goals can help better focus the project and will also lead to greater buy-in from key stakeholders, therefore increasing the likelihood of a successful rollout.
5 advantages to developing your data strategy
While there are endless possibilities for how data can be applied, they typically fall into one of five major categories.
- Better market understanding: For real estate brokerages, a well-defined data strategy plays a crucial role in gaining a greater understanding of the marketplace. This can involve gathering data on customer behaviors and purchase history as well as property prices, neighborhood demographics, and agent production stats. The insight gained can help brokerages better tailor their marketing strategies, identify untapped markets and uncover new opportunities.
- Develop smarter products and services: Having a well-defined data strategy helps organizations offer intelligent and streamlined products and services. By leveraging data, organizations can gain valuable insights into consumer behaviors and preferences, leading to a fine-tuning of existing products and services.
For instance, in certain markets, there may be a growing number of overseas buyers. Having this insight into macro consumer trends may prompt the brokerage to better develop virtual tour options that cater to that particular buyer group. The ability to capture not only direct consumer feedback in the form of structured data but also being able to capture unstructured data such as social media activities and other consumer movements is vital in delivering products and services the market will respond to.
- Improving internal processes: Using data, organizations can improve efficiency, provide better customer service, increase sales, create more effective marketing strategies, and increase operational efficiencies. This equips real estate brokerage leaders to easily identify failure points within existing systems and processes and enables them to take corrective actions quickly. Creating a data-driven culture has also been found to have a positive impact on employee satisfaction and engagement. A recent Gallup survey found that having an engaged employee pool led to a 23% overall increase in profitability.
- Competitive advantage: By having a data strategy in place, real estate firms can gain an advantage over the competition. Data can be used to identify new opportunities, optimize pricing, and improve customer experiences. Incorporating cognitive technologies such as AI/ML offer powerful incentives for companies and provide even greater advantages. These technologies can automate tasks and make predictions about future outcomes or behaviors. Predictive analytics is a growing field and one that is expected to grow from $12.49 billion in 2022 to $38.03 billion by 2028, according to VC firm, The Insight Partners’ latest research report.
- Better customer experiences: A data strategy can help real estate firms better understand their customers’ needs and preferences. Real estate firms that rely on data-driven decision making are better positioned to deliver personalized experiences, tailor their offerings to specific customer segments, and build stronger relationships with their clients. Sandra Troccoli, Vice President of IT & Digital Platforms with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale says, “We have spent a lot of time and money to harness our transactional data to better serve our clients as well as our agents. We drive innovation by constantly seeking to improve the BHHS Homesale experience.” Taking a data-driven approach to customer engagement and satisfaction builds brand loyalty and helps to ensure the long-term success of a brand.
Developing a data strategy may seem like a daunting task, but it comes with significant benefits. Begin with a long term vision of how your organization would like to incorporate data into daily decision making and what kinds of business challenges or goals you would like to address. The process will be different for every firm depending on your data maturity, technical infrastructure, company size, team buy-in and so on.
To avoid overwhelming the team, begin with small projects that allow for wins early on. Small successes can help build momentum and support for larger projects in the future. Real Estate firms that proactively incorporate data into their everyday decision-making will have a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Diana Zaya is the Vice President of Sales and marketing and one of the founding team members of Relitix, a data analytics company specializing in the use of data science applications such as machine learning, big data analytics, and data visualization for agent recruitment and retention.