Connecting Internal and External Data to Make Critical Decisions

Harvey Rañola |
 08/09/23 |
5 min read

Connecting Internal and External Data to Make Critical Decisions

Connecting what we know from internal customer service and sales data to external market data is critical for making decisions. And with the right lens applied, it can also reveal potential cultural and societal shifts that can impact upcoming product creation and marketing campaigns.

Our Intelligence Connector helps industry leaders connect the digital dots to make innovative, AI-informed market predictions, including:

  • Identifying the missing link between internal and external data
  • Understanding the impact social data has on market movement
  • Discovering emerging trends and fads
  • Combining company and patent data to inform innovation

The Missing Link Between Internal and External Data

Every business has both internal and external data, but most leverage these datasets separately, overlooking the benefits of combining the sources. The consequence of this segregation is a significant loss. Companies that fail to integrate external and internal data are deprived of a comprehensive understanding of their business. Whereas merging them provides organizations with a holistic perspective of their operations, the market, and their place in it. It also reveals opportunities

For example, Walmart noticed a significant increase in ginger root sales. This prompted them to explore external data sources to see if this trend extended beyond their stores. Social data analysis pointed to a corresponding increase in conversation about this product, particularly in blogs written by parents.

This is possible when brands can map conversational increases by source:

map conversational increases by source channel

The ability to drill down and discover specific domains, blogs, and even subreddits where conversations are happening is powerful. And it’s precisely what Walmart did.

Imagine organically connecting that insight to sales data in your business intelligence system and generating specific alerts to drive product development and marketing?

This connection helped Walmart discover that the surge in ginger purchases was linked to a heightened interest in health, nutrition, and cold prevention among parents. And they were able to dig deeper and uncover a precise niche—working parents facing time constraints and needing to spend less time taking sick children to the doctor.

The internal data identified the trends but was light on the context, which was the changemaker in this story. In Walmart’s case, this insight led them to reconsider placing food items in aisles and contemplate ways to assist parents, such as providing preventative care options at the pharmacy. Such innovative ideas are born when internal and external data unite.

This insight increases confidence in decision-making and can validate hunches. And this is an essential capability to have in an age where the social web often impacts market movements

Seeing Social Data Impact Market Movements

The resurgence of vinyl records seems to have caught some retailers off guard. And they were in good company. As reported by The Conversation, “People purchased US$1.2 billion of records in 2022, a 20% jump from the previous year.” But why?

There are theories about nostalgia taking over, or people viewing them as status symbols, or maybe it’s their sound quality. But Swifties would know otherwise. Taylor Swift fans, many millions strong, flock to her latest vinyl releasee, as do fans of other chart-topping musicians.

We see a significant surge in posts and mentions surrounding vinyl records on April 2, primarily driven by the release of a BTS album.

BTS album sales spikes noted on graph

And exploring the spike reveals posts that provide context. We see fans eagerly awaiting the announcement of the vinyl release dates:

The rising popularity of vinyl records among contemporary artists such as Taylor Swift and BTS contributes to increased overall sales. Taylor Swift’s vinyl record “Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions” even topped Record Store Day sales, breaking the record for the most vinyl records sold in one day.

This and other spikes in vinyl sales could be discovered and monitored where social, sales, and other market data meet—in your BI platform, after being fed all the relevant data via Intelligence Connector. Vinyl may be here to stay, but the data will reveal if it’s really a steady trend or just a fleeting fad supported by deafening, yet inconsistent, noise. 

Here are some general examples of how each typically look when graphed out for analysis:

trend vs fad vs noise

When chasing trends, there is a significant risk of unintentionally falling for a fad. It can shift a brand’s perception and potentially undermine its hard-earned progress with its audience. Even chasing solid trends too often isn’t a good look for brands. As Forbes shares, “It can be very hard to master every emerging trend, and even if you do, your audience will likely be aware of what you’re doing. Struggle and desperation are not good looks for a brand, and ironically, nothing drives an audience away more than when a business is trying too hard to appeal to them.

It’s important to have good intel informing these decisions as you’ll want to be selective.

But it’s also important to note that social data isn’t the only dataset on the block to inform game-changing decisions. Understanding company and patent data is equally critical as it powers innovation and inspiration and offers competitive advantages.

Combining Data Sources for Innovation and Inspiration

When Smart Home technology hit the scene, consumers were not ready. Even today, privacy and other consumer concerns exist. So, although the conversation surrounding smart homes grew rapidly six to seven years ago, many companies were still uncertain about it. The category was vast and undefined, leaving businesses unsure of which specific products would succeed, if any. It’s an uncertainty that persists today.

Today, businesses benefit from capturing a comprehensive overview of competitor and patent data. For example, below, we have several subcategories in the Smart Home conversation, revealing which areas are experiencing the most robust CAGR:

smart home cagr

Patent data reveals product development and research insight, adding context to our heatmap above. For example, we see consumer goods with an astounding 212.6% CAGR above and below there are patents for intelligent clothes. It deserves exploration if you’re a retailer and have yet to consider this trend. And this is just one small surface insight—imagine the insight dwelling just a few clicks beneath it all?

smart home patent data

Combining patent and company data with internal sales and other customer data in a business intelligence platform offers powerful point-in-time competitive snapshots. It’s insight that can inform future product development or inspire new ideas. And hard data supports confident action in an age where opportunities can quickly pass you by.

Having all relevant data sources aggregated in one place is the first step toward predicting the market, or your competition’s, next move. This technology is evolving daily, and we’d love to help your company evolve along with it! Be sure to reach out for a demo and we’ll show you how that can look.

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