I was speaking with a business associate last week who was recounting what she had heard at a recent marketing conference. She mentioned that a lot of questions for the speakers had to do with the challenge of how to make “insights actionable.”
Over the last couple of years, the field of business analytics has been highly-focused on “consumer insights,” the art of understanding consumers at a level that reveals the underlying motivations behind their purchasing decisions.
A lot of products and services have come to market claiming to deliver “insights.” However, even with the best tools now in hand, the process of applying these insights to real business problems is often no easier.
A Market Research Consultant’s Secret
How do market research consultants make insights actionable? Marketing professionals spend so much time, money, and effort to create a data flow, but often don’t know what to do with it. And, in many cases, if there are still questions once the data has been gathered and reported, it may be too late.
This article is the first in a series of three that will explore how to measure marketing results from the perspective of making those facts and insights actionable.
The secret to making insights actionable is in how your organize the data collection process.
Often the task at hand is really, “how to measure strategy.” Creating a sound strategy always starts with deconstructing what appears to be. All business data can be grouped into two categories that, together, can be used to frame any successful business strategy.
- Results – that which you’re trying to impact or change (e.g., call volume, sales, coupon redemption, loyalty, revenue, widgets produced)
- Delivery – that which impacts the things we want to change (e.g., staffing, packaging, marketing, price, etc.)
So, we have information that is “results” and information that is “delivery” by nature. If you were a statistician, you’d call these dependent and independent variables. Another way to look at them are as cause (delivery) and effect (results).
When your information is organized into these two categories, you’ll find that you have laid the foundation for converting data into actionable insights. (Next week I’ll write about this process further and suggest some methods for organizing and reporting on the resulting data.)
I’ll wrap up this mini-series with a set of case studies on how others have learned how to measure marketing results and made their insights actionable.
What do you think? Do you organize your data with the end in mind? Use the comment area below to tell us your technique or to ask a question.
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