Collecting business data can feel like filling a bucket with Legos. You know you could build something great, but first you have to decide how to put the pieces together.
While many organizations are efficient at gathering data, it’s not uncommon for them to stumble once they have to make sense of it all. Raw data alone is not enough to take action, and it can be overwhelming if you don’t know how to sift through the pieces. Here are some ways to get more value from the data you already have so you can piece together something fantastic.
Pick the Metrics that Matter the Most
Before you even look at your data, it’s important to know what you want to measure. Are you evaluating audience engagement? Looking for general trends? Using data to inform customer personas for a future campaign?
You better know the answers up front. Without a plan, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds as you sort through the data, potentially losing valuable time. There’s no point in creating reports that don’t offer insight on how you’re performing against your critical metrics. Only by identifying the metrics that matter to your organization beforehand can you stay focused on the most relevant data later.
Listen to the Stories Your Data Is Telling
While establishing your metrics at the start is important, following the data wherever it leads is just important. Often your findings will be positive – your data may tell you great things about your customer loyalty, your email campaigns, or the effectiveness of your sales team. Of course, these are the stories you want to hear.
But, inevitably, some of what you learn won’t be so sunny. As you analyze your company data, you may be surprised to discover the ways in which you’re coming up short. This can be a painful, humbling moment, but if you listen to what your data is telling you it can also be a tremendous opportunity for growth. We believe even negative data points can have positives.
Protect the Data You Have
This might not be analysis per se, but protecting your data should be a key part of your plan during and after collection. After all the time and effort you’ve invested into gathering audience information, the last thing you want to do is to lose it. That’s the last thing your customers, students, or constituents want, too.
As with any critical information, it’s important to back up your business data and keep it behind lock and key to guarantee its security. If you’re unsure how to keep these assets safe, then this might be a good time to call in the pros. Your data is simply too valuable to risk.
Remember the People Behind the Data
The data you collect is so much more than numbers in spreadsheets. It represents real interactions with the people you serve. Approaching your data with empathy and curiosity is a critical part of analysis. When you understand the people you serve and what they’re looking for from your organization the meaning of your data becomes enriched.
At the end of the day, you’ve collected this data in service to your audiences. You’ll use it to help solve their problems, provide them with critical information, and connect them to services that impact their lives. When you re-center your approach on the people you serve, you can use your data to deliver incredible outcomes.
Find out more how we work with clients to drive impactful change with data.