It has never been easier to get data on how your marketing is working. Sometimes I swear our analytics should have analytics. But with that wealth of stuff, it’s so easy to misinterpret data for information.
Data is raw. Data is what tells you how many fans you have, how many visits to your websites, how many form downloads, how many leads. Data tells you what concretely and objectively happened in the past. That information can be used to project out into the future or to set goals for growth. But in and of itself, it doesn’t mean anything. What turns data into information is analysis. That means looking at every piece of information and not simply presenting it to your client or your boss, but rather explaining in plain old English what it means for the business as a whole.
Let’s take an example everyone loves to talk about: page views. Great, you increased page views by 25% last month. Well done indeed! But you didn’t see a 25% rise in sales. Maybe you only saw a 1% rise in sales. Maybe they actually fell. Was it that you were attracting people who weren’t motivated buyers or were from the wrong geographic area? If so, you can figure that out by interpreting data into information. Maybe they found something on the site that turned them off and bounced away immediately, or maybe they went through all the steps of the buying process but balked at having to set up an account to make a purchase and abandoned cart then and there. Again, you only know this because you’ve drilled down, made connections about data points and given life to inert numbers.
There’s a reason people are often given data instead of information: it’s hard to see how those points fit together. Sometimes it can be impossible to reach a full conclusion, but with work and thought and a little gumption, you can at least come up with some darn good theories that can be tested and further refined.
Whether you’re looking at analytics or trying to see if a program has been a success or just plain stalking a competitor, don’t stop at numbers. Always take the time to keep burrowing and seeing what really matters. That’s what separates a great marketer from an okay implementer.
Need help changing your data into information? We can help. Give us a call and we’ll work through those numbers together and help you identify what’s really important.