How to interpret data to deliver powerful insights

What was the last insightful thing you learned from your data? What did you do with this discovery to make a positive impact in your business? Hold on to that thought whilst you read on. If at the end you haven’t changed your mind, then you must be in the 31% of companies who identify as data-driven.

What’s your hidden truth?

We are living in an era where every business is trying to stabilise its position and gain market share to enjoy a better and stronger future, so it is surprising that 52.4% of businesses are still not using their data to compete in their chosen marketplace. Are you, and if not, why not? What you need to get ahead you probably already have at your disposal; it is the data you collect as a business. Every company is amassing ever-increasing amounts of it, but most struggle to distil it into anything useful. This probably explains why 73% of data captured goes unused.

Companies must turn their data into something powerful; find a hidden truth or learn something that was previously unknown. This newly acquired knowledge can be used to challenge all the things you thought you knew, about everything that means anything in your business. This will put you in a position to drive through innovations that will change how you operate and perform for the better, both now and in the future.

The “aha” moment

So, where does this hidden truth come from? When we start to dissect a piece of data, exploring the reasons why it is happening, we can learn something we didn’t know before. This “aha” moment is known as insight. When most people look at data, they can make observations, impartial findings requiring little judgement. When knowledge and wisdom are applied, you can begin to dig deeper, to uncover the truth concealed in the data you have collected. For something to be truly insightful, it must have made you change your mind about something that you always thought to be true. 

We love data more than most people, but we know by itself its potential is limited.  Observations are the first step, what we see when we look around, but they should not stand alone. If we try to base decisions on observations, we make assumptions. When we find these insights, these intangible truths, we truly comprehend our target audience. When you know your customers better than they know themselves, you can predict what they want from you next. Insight means you can act on this whilst it is still relevant, driving your business decisions to get ahead.

Fostering a culture of data curiosity

Insight goes beyond looking at one piece of information, it is where you have a 360-degree view of your data, where you know and understand what is going on across your entire organisation. When you do a jigsaw, you can’t see the big picture until you’ve put all the pieces together, and data is no different. The complexity of the journey to becoming data-driven is frequently underestimated by organisations; it may require a rethink of their entire business structure. When organisations foster a culture of data curiosity and have the foundations to question data across different silos, they have a rounded view of what is going on. This complete intuitive understanding means they can generate patterns and find key trends that affect their business objectives. When this understanding is achieved, organisations can become empowered and make their first step to becoming data-driven.

This rigor and analysis should lead to data informed decisions, it gives businesses a blueprint for a clear set of actions, to change something or create a solution. When data is at the forefront of the business, you have clarity about what customers need from you, both now and in the future. These decisions allow your business to operate in predictive mode, not reactive mode. When the effectiveness of products, services or communication is improved, the consumer develops an emotional investment in the brand, which ultimately drives sales. 

Showing you care

Music streaming platform Spotify effectively used data to drive their business decisions and improve their relationship with their listeners. They collected data that a user in Venice had listened to 4 hours of Adele on the 14th February and applied their knowledge and wisdom that this consumer behaviour is likely due to someone experiencing heartbreak. They used information like this to drive their business decisions, forming a targeted billboard campaign. “Dear Person in Venice Who Listened to Adele for Four Hours on Valentine’s Day, You OK? Love, Spotify” created a unique story that showed Spotify cares, that they understand how their consumers are feeling and will pay attention and adapt their service to suit what the customer wants before they are even aware of it. As they added beliefs, values and experience, they achieved actionable insight, evoking an emotional response in their target audience, driving more people to use the service.

Similarly, Netflix use their algorithms based on previous viewing behaviour to recommend the most relevant content to viewers. If Netflix relied on observations, it might lead to misconceptions. For instance, if you started watching a horror movie, relying on observations could lead to an assumption that you love horror movies and suggest titles of this genre to you. Yet Netflix also takes into account your rating and how long you viewed it for. So, if you rated it poorly and turned it off after a couple of minutes, it can make a logical conclusion not to suggest similar titles.

That ground-breaking idea

When we work with a panorama of data across the entire business, mine and question our findings and use our experience to derive logical conclusions, we unlock the full potential of data. We uncover fresh information that we were oblivious to before and we can use this actionable insight to drive our business strategy, it can be the decider of what we do next. We can provide our customers with a service they really value, that really addresses their needs and has a positive impact. Powerful insights can push businesses to build a stronger relationship with their customers and acquire a distinctive competitive edge. 

So, if we ask you again what the last insightful thing you learned from your data was, would you answer it differently now? If not, you may just be in the 28.3% of companies who have a data culture. If you did, you have made the first step to becoming data-driven. Think about the data your business collects and how it could be scrutinised and investigated to find the fundamental truth you are looking for. You never know, you might be the one to put forward that ground-breaking idea to drive your business forward.

At Clekt, we want to help our clients function in predictive mode, to help them remain competitive in a machine-led world. To do this, you need to get your data to do more than point out the obvious. We can help you to find the true value of your data. Powerful insights need to be the focal point to get the results you need to achieve your business objectives.