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 the 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.

[pullquote position="right"]If analysis and application are the biggest challenges, identify the people who understand this new research opportunity to provide the analysis that’s most important to you – lead generation results, customer service satisfaction, brand perception, competitor activity, etc.[/pullquote] (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

35 comments
Pete A
Pete A

Very good article.


Do you see a dichotomy between the need for filtered insights and real-time information?


Seems like making sense of raw data takes time, which takes it out of the real-time realm.


Would be interested in your thoughts 

Eden Spodek
Eden Spodek

So true. We need to be able to make sense of what we've got. Help welcome.

Keith Davis
Keith Davis

I was only saying to my wife the other day... "We Need Better Insights, Not More Data" She didn't agree.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Exactly, Eden - get the basics right and then get sexy. :)

Keith Davis
Keith Davis

Oh yes - bless the ladies... coming dear.....

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Thanks, Nitin - coming from you, good sir, I'll take that as a happy compliment. :)

Alexander
Alexander

That`s a great article. 78 % plan to make greater use of social media platforms. I really believe that Social Media Marketing opens a wide range of new possibilties to the companies. A couple of day ago I published an article about google and youtube. Youtube is the 2nd place after google where the people are searching for their service and products ect.

Jim Delaney
Jim Delaney

It's true that the amount of data available on the Internet can be overwhelming. Brands must sift through millions of digital breadcrumbs to uncover meaningful, valuable insights. However, I agree with you that data doesn't need to be scary. I work for Marketwire, and leading global companies use our Sysomos social media analytics platform to quickly and easily capitalize on valuable opportunities provided by real-time data.

We're seeing that brands who can effectively measure and react to real-time data reap the greatest results in social media. For example, one of our clients is a major global retailer who monitors Black Friday conversations that mention their competitors running out inventory. Then, they inform those purchasers that they have the product in stock and on sale. In another example, one of our top clients is using real-time social feedback for existing products, as well as in the product development process. A final example is an ice cream company who monitors trending ingredients and flavors across different food categories to incorporate into new flavor launches.

To your point, it's all about finding the right nuggets of data and reacting to them in a timely way that is going to be the most impactful for your customers, and ultimately, for your business.

Jim Delaney
Jim Delaney

It's true that the amount of data available on the Internet can be overwhelming. Brands must sift through millions of digital breadcrumbs to uncover meaningful, valuable insights. However, I agree with you that data doesn't need to be scary. I work for Marketwire, and leading global companies use our Sysomos social media analytics platform to quickly and easily capitalize on valuable opportunities provided by real-time data. We're seeing that brands who can effectively measure and react to real-time data reap the greatest results in social media. For example, one of our clients is a major global retailer who monitors Black Friday conversations that mention their competitors running out inventory. Then, they inform those purchasers that they have the product in stock and on sale. In another example, one of our top clients is using real-time social feedback for existing products, as well as in the product development process. A final example is an ice cream company who monitors trending ingredients and flavors across different food categories to incorporate into new flavor launches. To your point, it's all about finding the right nuggets of data and reacting to them in a timely way that is going to be the most impactful for your customers, and ultimately, for your business.

Phil Simon
Phil Simon

I have mixed feelings about this post. Yes, more data with the same tools will likely overwhelm us. However, more data with new and more powerful tools will result in better insights. Of course, all of that is irrelevant if we don't open ourselves up to new possibilities. Culture eats strategy for lunch.

40deuce
40deuce

Amen to this my friend!

I think I said this on your last post about the subject, but people should be using the data that they NEED. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Cheers,

Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos and Marketwire

40deuce
40deuce

Amen to this my friend! I think I said this on your last post about the subject, but people should be using the data that they NEED. Nothing more. Nothing less. Cheers, Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos and Marketwire

Leon Noone
Leon Noone

G'Day Danny

Back in the 1990s the great Tom Gilbert visited Australia. I remember him saying to me. "Leon, We don't live in the Information Age: we live in the Data Age. Information is data you can use." How 'bout that Danny? "Information is data you can use." Wish I'd said it!

And while I'm grizzling.....Another pet hate of mine is EOSC: Erroneous One Stat Conclusion. A recent study here has shown that use of public transport in Sydney is about twice as high as in Melbourne. And it's growing in Sydney much faster than in Melbourne. The EOSC is that Sydney's public transport system is superior tp Melbourne's.

This is nonsense. Melbourne has a vastly superior road system to Sydney's. It's a flat sprawling city with lots of suburban freeways and motorways and trams, buses and an underground railway serving the CBD and inner suburbs. Sydney is hilly and intersected by the harbour and other major waterways. I often say that Sydney's a fabulous place to live provided that you don't to go anywhere in a a hurry.

Other examples of EOSC a few years ago were "benchmarking"and "world's best practice." I remember Al Ries pointing out that if you're trying to build a successful business, you shouldn't try to emulate what Apple and Coca Cola were doing now. You should find what they did when they were the same size as your business and emulate that.

Enough of my grumblings...

Avagoodweegend!

Best Wishes

Leon

Leon Noone
Leon Noone

G'Day Danny Back in the 1990s the great Tom Gilbert visited Australia. I remember him saying to me. "Leon, We don't live in the Information Age: we live in the Data Age. Information is data you can use." How 'bout that Danny? "Information is data you can use." Wish I'd said it! And while I'm grizzling.....Another pet hate of mine is EOSC: Erroneous One Stat Conclusion. A recent study here has shown that use of public transport in Sydney is about twice as high as in Melbourne. And it's growing in Sydney much faster than in Melbourne. The EOSC is that Sydney's public transport system is superior tp Melbourne's. This is nonsense. Melbourne has a vastly superior road system to Sydney's. It's a flat sprawling city with lots of suburban freeways and motorways and trams, buses and an underground railway serving the CBD and inner suburbs. Sydney is hilly and intersected by the harbour and other major waterways. I often say that Sydney's a fabulous place to live provided that you don't to go anywhere in a a hurry. Other examples of EOSC a few years ago were "benchmarking"and "world's best practice." I remember Al Ries pointing out that if you're trying to build a successful business, you shouldn't try to emulate what Apple and Coca Cola were doing now. You should find what they did when they were the same size as your business and emulate that. Enough of my grumblings... Avagoodweegend! Best Wishes Leon

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Thanks, Nitin - coming from you, good sir, I'll take that as a happy compliment. :)

Keith Davis
Keith Davis

Oh yes - bless the ladies... coming dear.....

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Exactly, Eden - get the basics right and then get sexy. :)

Keith Davis
Keith Davis

I was only saying to my wife the other day... "We Need Better Insights, Not More Data" She didn't agree.

Eden Spodek
Eden Spodek

So true. We need to be able to make sense of what we've got. Help welcome.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Hey there Jim, thanks for such an awesome comment and sharing your examples, mate - and I love what you guys over at Sysomos are doing (I'm not just saying that because @40deuce:disqus is lurking about in the comments, either!).

It's so true, and your examples shine the light on this perfectly - determine your goal, spot the gap, hear what's being said and act accordingly. Why is this so difficult to grasp?

I'd love for you or Sheldon to guest here as a follow-up to this post, perhaps expanding on the points and examples you make and how Sysomos is moving the conversation forward?

Cheers, sir, have a great weekend!

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Hey there Jim, thanks for such an awesome comment and sharing your examples, mate - and I love what you guys over at Sysomos are doing (I'm not just saying that because @40deuce:disqus is lurking about in the comments, either!). It's so true, and your examples shine the light on this perfectly - determine your goal, spot the gap, hear what's being said and act accordingly. Why is this so difficult to grasp? I'd love for you or Sheldon to guest here as a follow-up to this post, perhaps expanding on the points and examples you make and how Sysomos is moving the conversation forward? Cheers, sir, have a great weekend!

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

The problem is, unless people know how to use the tools, the data will still be useless. And while people are getting used to how the tools work, more data arrives. It's a vicious circle, and even the companies providing the tools to measure admit it's something that will probably never realistically be overcome while people focus on the irrelevant data, because they've been told to "measure everything". Grrr...

Cheers for the comment, Phil, appreciated mate!

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Exactly, mate - it reminds me of gluttony, and the eyes being bigger than the stomach. Or something. I may have messed up that analogy. ;-)

Phil Simon
Phil Simon

EOSC - I love it. These are endemic in sports. For instance, 90% of the time that the team is up by 6 with under 4 minutes to go, it wins. Those stats are completely meaningless.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Hey there mate,

I backpacked around Australia for six months a few years back, and had heard all about Sydney being the place over all others. And, as nice as it was, I was disappointed when I compared it to Melbourne and even the likes of Palmerston and Cairns. Damn tourist advice board and their one trick pony advice! ;-)

And I love your last point about the big brands - yes, be a wirehead that digs into how things work and how to make them better for your customer, like Jobs and Wozniak were in the early days. No-one comes out the gate worth billions of dollars - stop putting crazy ideas into your head that your business will buck that trend. No, it won't.

Hey ho... Have a great one yourself, mate, always a pleasure!

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Hey there mate, I backpacked around Australia for six months a few years back, and had heard all about Sydney being the place over all others. And, as nice as it was, I was disappointed when I compared it to Melbourne and even the likes of Palmerston and Cairns. Damn tourist advice board and their one trick pony advice! ;-) And I love your last point about the big brands - yes, be a wirehead that digs into how things work and how to make them better for your customer, like Jobs and Wozniak were in the early days. No-one comes out the gate worth billions of dollars - stop putting crazy ideas into your head that your business will buck that trend. No, it won't. Hey ho... Have a great one yourself, mate, always a pleasure!

Phil Simon
Phil Simon

No argument here. Give a bad golfer a good driver and bad things will happen.

40deuce
40deuce

Something like that...

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Hehe, don't tell opponents of Manchester United that in soccer. ;-)

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