In today’s world, we store almost every piece of information digitally. Many facets of our day-to-day life — web browsing, social posts, phone calls, online shopping, fitness, eating, sleeping, and even driving — are starting to be tracked and converted into data to be assessed and analyzed.

We immerse ourselves in this ocean of data, and it is easy to get lost in the plethora of information in front of us. For consumers, the data expansion is all about convenience and customization. However, for businesses, specifically those in retail commerce, the key to success is all about turning data into insights and turning insights into actions.

Many businesses collect any data they can — whether it be unstructured, clean, or dirty data — and try to leverage it to identify trends and gain insights. However, it’s important to spend your efforts on the data that matters most to your business.

I often get a laugh from my colleagues when I say, “data is everything.” I have read countless articles about “big data” and how “data is the new oil.” While it might not be literally everything, data has become an ingredient essential to any organization’s success — and, in some cases, the data itself can be a company’s bread and butter.

It’s all about the “five rights of data.” You need the right data; at the right time; delivered to the right people or platform; in the right format; for the right business decisions.

In the subscription commerce world, most of my time and effort with clients is spent on key data involving customer acquisition and retention. Here are a few of the ways we bring the “five rights” into practice for our clients:

  • We collect the right data, such as the media channels through which we acquired customers, how much the customers spent and where, and how consumers behaved at every omnichannel touchpoint.

  • We provide key metrics — such as cost per order and average order value, lifetime sales, segments, and propensity to churn — at the right time and in the right formats that are easy to use, manipulate, and understand.

  • We send these metrics to the right people such as brand managers and media buyers or via technology to the right platform like visualization software, member sites, or CRMs. We provide the people and platforms what they need to know how a campaign is performing and can use that data to personalize the customer experience, allocate media, and improve customer engagement across different channels.

  • These business leaders and platforms then use the data we send to inform critical right decisions, including which offers to spend more or redact, which products to focus on, whether to embark on email campaigns to retain customers, how to personalize messaging to at-risk customers, or how to strategize win-back campaigns.

Using data and analytics as a platform enables more optimized retention campaigns that help subscription organizations drive real results and reveals which strategies most improve customer retention. If you can retain a larger percentage of the customers for a longer life cycle, you can build a strong revenue foundation that revolves around profitability and the ability to forecast — two elements that any organization would love to possess.


While it is clear that collecting and using data is vital, turning that data into actionable insights that inform important decisions can be tricky. To use data meaningfully requires a data set that is as complete as possible; a team of people with the skills required to collect, connect, manage, and analyze that data; quality assessment and prioritization of the data; and people who know how to convert that data into knowledge.

It is not just a matter of having the right technologies in place — it is about a fundamental shift in how we nurture data and identify what can be done with it to make decisions.

The concept of “nurturing” data isn’t only about gathering information; it’s about managing it effectively. When honed with in-depth analytics, smart algorithms, and machine learning, data can form the basis for personalization that improves the customer experience, increases customer retention, creates upsell and cross-sell opportunities, and ultimately helps generate more revenue.

It’s just a matter of time before most of marketing will be driven by smart data — at some point, it’s possible the marketing processes will become more automated. Get a head start toward the future by driving your data collection and analysis with the “five rights.” Nurture your data to produce actionable insights that will fuel your subscription commerce organization’s transformation into a top competitor in the industry.

Vijay Manickam is VP of Business Intelligence and Analytics of OceanX, which is reinventing the membership economy by transforming customer-brand interactions and providing a powerful engine for subscriptions. Vijay specializes in connecting data and analytics into assessments for meaningful subscription commerce businesses decisions.