Data, data everywhere…

I know a marketing manager who often shares (or rather BRAGS) about how he has this “mountain of data” on his customer base. “You have NO idea how cool it is! I have [fill in the appropriate information] about my customers… I know when they buy…. I know how they buy, how they pay, what they bought….”

I often want to ask “and do you know whether they chose paper or plastic too?”… but that would sound disrespectful. 

It’s great to have good information about your customers. Good marketers and business owners should be able to paint a mental “portrait” of their clients: the “typical” client, the “occassional client,” etc. But here’s the trick – to be able to know that, you have to actually DO SOMETHING with your “data.”

Data’s great. Data’s wonderful. But data is JUST data if you don’t DO SOMETHING with it. What’s that something? Well… it’s like my pops always said: apply what’s between your ears.

To make DATA into INFORMATION – that is, something that we as business people can actually DO something with – we need to actually analyze the data… see what it’s telling us. And that, of course, means we need to take TIME to do just that.

So before you sign up for yet another marketing research service, or decide to do a customer satisfaction survey… ask yourself “WHY?” Why are you doing it? What is “it” that you want to know. If your answer looks anything like “oh gee, well I should really just do it….” then don’t waste your time, your effort or worse — your CUSTOMER’S time if you aren’t going to actually DO something with the information they’ve taken the time to give you.

My advice: Sure – do research! It’s important! But it’s only as important as the effort you put into it to better your business.

Category: Data, Market Research

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