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How Do You Become Data-Driven? Top Tips from 6 Companies Doing it Right

In today’s business world, the incorporation of data tracking has become a vital part of getting a finger on the pulse of a company. Not only can data provide actionable insights and allow for measuring growth effectively, but it can also have positive impact on a company’s internal processes and culture. Displaying relevant metrics to your team, like how users are signing up to your app or how customer service queries are coming in, offers an important element of transparency.

Are you an entrepreneur or business owner looking to reap the benefits of your data? Then it’s time to learn how to incorporate data into your processes. From a global education organisation to a business selling project management software, this is how these six companies collect and utilise data to effectively achieve growth, refine business practices, and inspire their teams.

1. Kigu.me Uses Data to Get a Hold on Extreme Growth

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Kigu.me, the Australian company that sparked a sudden trend in Japanese-inspired animal onesies in 2012, began incorporating their everyday data to inform their business decisions after experiencing a period of rapid growth.

It all began in 2009, when co-founders Aidan Lister and Daniel Labib discovered ‘kigurumi’ costumes while working abroad in Japan. Buying a few of the comfy animal suits, they wore them on ski trips and at university parties. Surprised by how much interest came from their friends in getting their hands on their own suits, the pair launched Kigu.me.

After the team acquired over 12,000 customers within the first few months of their launch, the co-founders had no choice but to start paying close attention to their incoming data. Co-founder Lister jokes, ‘Our sales were just doubling, tripling or, I don’t know what the word for 10 timing is, dodecadoopaling every month.’

The pair soon realised that Mondays and Tuesdays were their biggest days for sales, leading them to increase their social media activity on those days and drive in more customers. Ultimately this helped the team determine a weekly schedule, dramatically increasing their team’s overall productivity. And, with so much incoming email each day, the company focused on data to determine the average wait times for customer responses, leading them to adjust and improve their customer service processes.

Even if things seem to be happening too quickly to define business goals, as Lister advises, ‘Making data part of your thought process simply lets you take everything to the next level.’

Top tip: Use data to figure out how best to direct your team’s efforts throughout the week.

2. Yummly Uses Data to Retain Active Users

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Launched just four years ago, Silicon Valley startup Yummly already counts 15 million unique monthly visitors. Today, it is one of the world’s fastest-growing websites for foodies sharing their recipes and epicurean recommendations.

By giving every team within the organisation the access to the metrics that are most important to their work specifically– whether it means data that measures revenue, traffic growth, engagement, or activation– everyone is able to contribute to the general health of the company.

‘One of the most important metrics we focus on is getting new users to come back within the first month. If we can accomplish this, the user is much more likely to become a long-term user of Yummly.’ - Ethan Smith, Head of Product at Yummly

This approach helped them discover that their most active users are most interested in getting personalised recipe recommendations, leading them to integrate the feature throughout various stages of their user experience.

By creating a simple visualisation of their targeted metrics, some of which are collected monthly and others (such as the number of app downloads) on a daily basis, their data is always made readily available to the entire team.

Top tip: Analyse your data to drastically personalise your app’s user experience and keep the user flow from feeling too generic.

3. Mirabeau Uses Data to Strengthen Client Relationships

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Based in the The Netherlands, Mirabeau is a leading agency for web and mobile application development. Combining design, technology, and marketing allows them to create powerful solutions for big clients like ING Bank and KLM Airlines.

Using data to strengthen relationships with existing clients is Mirabeau’s main goal. To set themselves up for success, the agency arranges a client workshop before onboarding a project to outline their goals and ensure all parties agree on what data needs to be measured. By using easy-to-read analytics dashboards, they are able to nurture this company-wide awareness to data toward making informed decisions.

Mirabeau’s Creative Director, Franklin Heijnen, advises other agencies aiming to become more data-driven to start by defining easily understandable KPIs. ‘It’s all about data awareness,’ he says, ‘all parties involved always need to know what’s going on. Having access to the right data makes a huge difference.’

Top tip: Share data with clients so they can visualise the success of projects.

4. Shoto Uses Data to Focus on the Entire Customer Funnel

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Launched in 2013, San Francisco-born Shoto is an app that pulls together photos taken during times you and your friends spend together. They aspire to connect people using the power of shared moments and memories, allowing everyone to share experiences and ultimately discover new places.

Understanding their customer funnel is key for Shoto, which means getting a grip on their users’ behaviour from the moment they sign up until they either become regular or engaged users.

Knowing it would be impossible to retain users if people were entering the funnel and dropping off at different stages because their product wasn’t perfect yet, the company use data to tighten their user flow before focusing on marketing to the outside world. They learned key facts about their customer engagement, such as the fact that a photo album that had already been shared between users was 86% more likely to be reshared than standalone albums. Today, they are able to retain customers at the highest level of the funnel, where they are most engaged as regular users.

Top tip: Focus on what aspect of your customer funnel is struggling the most, before moving on to another. Figure out what’s going wrong, and use data to watch for improvements.

5. Podio Uses Data to Focus on Impact

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Founded in 2009 in Copenhagen, the cloud-based collaboration software Podio offers a platform for teams to communicate, organise and get work done in one place. It puts employees in control of their work tools, letting them decide how to structure projects and workflows by creating personal workspaces. They offer 700 specialised work apps to help everyone from marketing to IT get the job done.

The company uses data to return the focus to the impact their product has by looking at typical metrics like user growth, number of new customers and daily active users. However, they mix in metrics like customer service response time and customer satisfaction, in order to emphasize their efforts of customer support. In fact, all Podio employees rotate working on support in order to gain a better understanding of the process.

The team also set up a ‘beat-the-numbers’ board, zooming in on first-time user metrics that show how many sign-ups return on the next weekday, how many engage with the apps, and how many invite team members on board.

Product Manager Adrian Young-San Roessler recommends looking at how such graphs trend over time in order to get an accurate view of how a metric is actually changing. ‘It’s great to know that yesterday we had X-amount of new users or X-number of visitors, but those daily or weekly snapshots lose relevance over time’, he says.

Top tip: Put extra emphasis on customer service metrics and get the entire team involved in the support process.

6. Pearson Uses Data to be Agile

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Operating in 70 countries, Pearson is the world’s largest provider of educational services to students of all ages. Having recently shifted their focus to digital learning and emerging markets, the company emphasises data across the board from their electronic book sales to their global network of educational institutions.

The company primarily uses data to help their developers maximise their use of project tracking systems. Each time an issue or bug is submitted by their customer support team, a task ticket is assigned to an individual developer. By visualising this data system, the development team can accurately track progress in real time, allowing the company to dramatically reduce their backlog and in turn foster a more agile work environment.

Top tip: If your company’s engineering team uses a project tracking system, make sure to track tickets with data.


It’s clear that using data, tracking it carefully, and displaying it openly, can be a huge contributor towards determining a company’s performance and success. If you’re not already using some of these key tips toward becoming more data driven, start by defining which metrics are most important to your business and begin gaining key insights from your data, every day.