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Data Analysis Rule #1: Active Participation Required October 09, 2018 (0 comments)

12.jpg At this point, I don’t think I need to convince anyone about the valuable role data plays in building businesses. Everyone’s heard how having the right information makes it easier to identify and connect with new customers, make better operational decisions, and become more profitable. What everyone hasn’t heard is that making full use of your data requires your active participation. An agency can certainly collect and organize the data that’s available to your business and will very often make recommendations based on their analysis. But if all you do is glance at the report provided and agree to go along with – or not go along with – your agency’s recommendations based on your gut feeling or intuition, you’re really making a big mistake.

If You Want to Profit from Your Data, You Have to Get Involved

Your data is absolutely worthless to you if you don’t know what it says. It’s really important to sit down regularly with your marketer and go through the reports together. Make sure you know what the numbers being shown to you mean, and how that information pertains to your business. Ask questions. Do this regularly: the more often you work with your data, the easier it will become to make better decisions based upon it. I’m often asked how often a business owner should check their data. No one ever asks how often they should check their sales numbers, or if the store’s sign is lit.

Delve Into the Details – And Be Willing to Speak Up

Most data reports are presented in an executive summary style, with a few critical numbers highlighted and everything else buried in the details. The details matter – as does your perspective on them! As the business owner, you have an understanding and knowledge about what’s happening on a day-to-day basis that even the best data company just can’t match. Objective data will tell you that a special one day online event you’d planned didn’t perform as well as expected; observational data – the type that’s based on you & your team’s ongoing engagement with customers – can tell you that the day the special online event was meant to occur unfortunately also turned out to be the same day a major weather event which was occupying everyone’s attention. This brings us to the #1 data analysis mistake business owners make: staying silent. If you want your data to work, you have to work your data. That means considering the objective data – the marketing report information – in combination with your observational data. In other words, bringing your perspective and added knowledge forward, so the marketing professional who is performing the data analysis will have that information to better inform their recommendations. The more they know about your business – and this is data that has to come from you, as even the best analytics programs don’t capture everything – the more robust and useful their analysis will be.

A Note About Oversight, Accountability & Control

Another reason it’s important to sit down and review your data reports with your marketer is that it makes it easier for you, as the business owner, to provide an appropriate level of oversight. If the numbers you’re being presented with don’t align with what you’re seeing happen in your business, speak up. Ask questions. Data streams do become corrupted; it’s not unheard-of for information to be counted twice or not at all. An owner can often see where a spike in sales should have been -which can prompt questions which can be answered in part by looking at the data.   In terms of accountability, it makes sense that you get better results from a marketer who knows you’re paying attention to what they’re doing. We’ve found that reviewing data reports with clients results in stronger relationships, because the process of working together to identify opportunities for improvement and growth builds better businesses. And for those business owners who like to feel like they have everything under control, comprehensive data review might just turn out to be your favorite thing by giving you accurate, timely information that you can use to take advantage of opportunities and avoid unpleasant surprises.

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