Many executives and investors assume that it’s possible to use customer-data capabilities to gain an unbeatable competitive edge. The more customers you have, the more data you can gather, and that data, when analyzed with machine-learning tools, will allow you to offer a better product that attracts more customers. You can then collect even more data and eventually marginalize your competitors in the same way that businesses with sizable network effects do. Why does this proposition work for some companies but fails for many others? What should managers and investors look at when trying to determine whether a company can use customer data to achieve extraordinary results? And what are the implications for your business and investments? We’ll show you.
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