We Need Better Insights, Not More Data


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Data and insights

A little while back, I wrote about the difference between analytics and insights. My key point was while we may have awesome data at our fingertips, not knowing what to do with that data renders it obsolete and ineffective.

A new survey, with responses from attendees of the recent DMA2012 conference, as well as the recent Forrester Research conference Seizing Opportunity From Digital Disruption, seems to back up that insights versus analytics post.

Filtering The Noise Chamber

Today’s connected consumer has access to an insane amount of information, all at their fingertips thanks to the ubiquity of smartphone access to the web.

From checking restaurant reviews and stock prices, to taking pictures of a new pair of jeans and asking the opinion of friends on Facebook, today’s consumer is no longer restricted to choosing a brand through a push marketing approach.

This change of direction in the purchase cycle has resulted in brands playing catch up in trying to make sense of this new paradigm.

Instead of buying a media spend and determining results based on increased foot traffic to a storefront, marketers and analysts now have to understand what tipped a consumer from intent to buy to an actual purchase, and what external factors can impact that decision in the first place.

To enable this, technologies and companies have sprung up to allow marketers all the data they need, and more. However, this now presents a new and far more dangerous problem, from they perspective of the marketer:

How can the right data be filtered when there is so much of it? Failure to extrapolate the right data will only make the job tougher for any brand looking to truly understand their customer’s mindset.

Failure to understand your customer equals failure to grow and remain afloat. The scary thing is, though, it’s clear that many marketers just aren’t getting to grips with this new analytical methodology, as the report shows.

The Problem with Data – Lack of Insight

Some of the key findings from the attendees include:

  • 45% said the analysis and application of data is the biggest challenge;
  • 39% are not using demographic information or customer behaviour patterns when creating marketing strategies;
  • 44% don’t envision hiring new employees to oversee this data;
  • 83% plan to start considering using real-time data.

There are other worrying statistics from the results, but I picked out these four because they highlight perfectly the challenges to today’s marketer, as well as the failings of many businesses looking to operate in the space.

If more than a third don’t take something as basic and yet hugely important like demographics and customer behaviour into the equation, and almost half think they’re qualified to oversee this core business component themselves, that’s a problem.

Even more disconcerting is the percentage that don’t use real-time data – 83%.

Eighty three percent.

That’s more than three quarters of the businesses asked not utilizing something as simple as Twitter Search to get the lowdown on what’s being said about their brand or product at any given time, and being able to react to it.

It’s almost like we’re trapped in 2006. If businesses today aren’t utilizing the technology out there to make their business smarter and more effective, then it’s no wonder so many fail when it comes to using social as a complementary component to their other marketing efforts.

It’s not data that’s the problem – it’s the lack of insight into how that data can be mined, analyzed and acted upon. And there’s no need for this to be the case.

Smarter Thinking, Better Execution

Just looking at some of the key points I pulled from the report, there are simple solutions to every one of them.

If analysis and application are the biggest challenges, identify the people who understand this new research opportunity (this also addresses the 44% of businesses who don’t foresee employing people to oversee the data).

Additionally, identify the analysis that’s most important to you – lead generation results, customer service satisfaction, brand perception, competitor activity, etc. If you have no-one internally that can address this need, look to the kind of people your competitors have in this key role and act accordingly to, at the very least, match that investment.

Use technology like Quantcast to identify the demographics and behaviour of your web traffic. Cross measure this with tools like Traackr and Nimble, that can identify the key people talking about your brand and then filter them into groups and level of relevance and/or importance when it comes to contact.

Change the mindset of considering real-time intelligence and start making it a key part of your brand’s customer experience reporting. Hell, you don’t even have to be on a platform to set up alerts on the information that matters, and then allocating the right person to deal with that opportunity/situation.

Unless, of course, you’re the type of business that would have the chance to speak with your customer in your shop about how their visit was, and instead advise them you’d rather be in the office drinking coffee and playing Angry Birds.

Data doesn’t have to be scary – you don’t need to be mining every single piece of information out there about your brand. You do, however, need to be mining for the right data that’s important to you at that given time, and act on that.

Reduce the data. Increase the insights. Be a smarter business. You owe it to yourself, and your customers deserve better.

You can get a free copy of the full report here.

Data rich and insight poor

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown is partner at Bonsai Interactive Marketing, a full service agency offering integrated, social media and mobile marketing solutions. He is also founder of the 12for12k Challenge, a social media-led charity initiative connecting globally and helping locally.


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