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As a marketer, we’re going to come in contact with so much data. We need to realize that not all data is useful and relevant. It’s essential to know the different stages of data. Data isn’t actionable the moment it’s created, but that’s why it gets processed for marketers to use it. It feels like “data” is a buzzword that’s slowly losing its meaning, but acknowledging how data works prevent that.
Let’s first breakdown the terms marketers will often hear after performing marketing research: data points and data insights. Data points are the data you receive as soon as it’s available. It’s unrefined straight off the platform it’s been sitting in. Most of the time, this data isn’t useful. It’s raw and needs some TLC. It probably needs to clean up, which can be done with data cleaning. Without data cleaning, companies lose about 20 – 30% of their operating revenue because of poor quality data.
Once data is all cleaned up, it becomes information. Forbes (Links to an external site.) says it best: information is human-friendly data. It provides more context and can be shared with your team in reports and visuals. It becomes more useful, but it’s not fully developed. Data is most valuable when insights are derived from it. Data insights ultimately shine a light on opportunities that drive decisions and subsequently change.
Analytics create data insights. Think of it this way: your phone reports the number of steps and miles you walk and run in a day. That data is displayed to you in charts that illustrate your progress over time. You analyze the data and conclude that your steps have increased significantly over time, and it aligns with the weight you’ve lost. You use that insight to see how else you can maximize your steps to get closer to your fitness goal quicker. That’s always the end goal: actionable data insights that make the marketing research you performed worthwhile. If you want to make your supervisor smile, give them relevant data insights that solve problems.
Need help conducting affordable marketing research? Start with a survey. Learn more about survey best practices (Links to an external site.).