Organizing your experiential marketing data systematically within your data files can help you find issues quickly, should any problems arise during your analysis. While most issues should be discovered during the data cleaning processes, the ability to retrieve records and quickly identify anything erroneous is important. It ensures that you can quickly re-run analyses without wasting precious time. There are a number of ways to keep quality data. How you sort your data is key.
Using SPSS to Sort
When using an application like SPSS, the task is as simple as making sure your program contains all relevant data tags, and that they are sorted. When SPSS sorts by a variable, it automatically applies that same protocol to all other variables, ensuring that each case remains accurate. In order to have access to your experiential marketing data as quickly as possible, sort by the date of the data collection first. Sorting data chronologically works especially well for massive amount of records. Next, sort by individual markets. The data will now be sorted by market and by dates within those markets. If an issue emerges, it will be easy to locate the problem case by identifying the market and the date.
Using Excel to Sort
The process is similar using Excel, but it is important to ensure that your sort contains all relevant fields. Excel typically does this automatically, but it is always good to double check. Your experiential marketing data loses all integrity should a sort miss even one field. To ensure a sort includes all fields,
- Click on the cell in the top left corner, i.e., the cell to the left of Column A and above Row 1. This will select all the columns and rows that contain data.
- Click on the DATA tab.
- Click on the SORT icon on the menu bar. A pop-up window will appear.
- If your spreadsheet has a header row (it should), check the box in the top right corner, “My data has headers.”
- Select the first column to sort from the left pull down menu.
- With headers, the choices will be the names assigned to each column.
- Without headers, the choices will be Column A, Column B, etc.
- Select the sort option from the middle pull-down menu (value, cell color, etc.)
- Select the sort order from the from the right pull-down menu.
- Assuming you have chosen to sort by date first, move to the next row of pull-down menus and repeat steps 5-7. Steps 5-7 may be repeated multiple times for complicated sorts. When selections are complete.
- Click OK.
Using Excel to Filter
When looking for data by data and market, it is often faster to filter than sort. Filtering returns only the data you wish to see. In effect, it temporarily hides the data you do not want to see.
- Select FILTER on the DATA tab menu.
- Pull down icons will appear in the header row.
- Click on the icon at the top of the “Date” column and select the desired date. Click OK.
- Repeat step number 3 for the “Market” column. Click OK.
At this point, the only data visible on the screen will be the data you want to see.
Don’t worry! The rest of the data is still there. It is just hidden from from view. To return to viewing all data, click on the FILTER icon again (It will be highlighted while in use.)
Learning how to use each of these simple functions can make your work much easier. Let the computer program do the work for you.
RULE OF THUMB: If you don’t understand the capabilities of your data collection programs, you will be working harder instead of smarter.
You should never feel like you are looking for a needle in a haystack. Be the guy with the magnet in his hand, who draws the needle to him.