Actionable Information is GOLD, Mined from Raw Data
There is a tremendous difference between raw data and actionable information. Data is a collection of metrics, in raw form or just poorly organized. Actionable information starts with the same raw metrics, but presents it in a form that is easily utilized by decision makers. Actionable information is GOLD. Data is the gold mine. Your business will be more successful if you have someone on staff who can provide you with concise, “executive-worthy” information. Information that will give you insight into the key business drivers. Without it, you have to sift through the voluminous data on your own. You end up being an analyst instead of growing your business.
Obtaining actionable information starts with asking the right questions. Of course these questions vary based on your role and the nature of your business. The key is to get started asking the questions. Here are a few that may prompt you to think of others that relate specifically to your marketing situation:
- Who are my top customers over the last six months? How have their purchases changed over the past year, or two years?
- Are there certain “gateway” products or services, that tend to move customers from medium-sized to large?
- How has my product mix shifted? Is it different among the large customers than the overall mix?
- Is my business growing faster than the market in general?
- What are my most profitable products? Least profitable?
- Do any products have a higher return rate than standard?
- Additional thought provoking questions can be found in Tom Morkes blog:
When you start asking these kinds of questions, you will find that the answers will prompt you to ask even more questions. Congratulations! You are then on your way to actionable information! Each time you ask and answer questions, you are gaining insight to the nuts and bolts of your business.
Be aware that it is critical to have someone on staff who can mine the data and help you answers these questions. In my view it is one of the most important roles in any business. This “information guru” has to be more business oriented than data oriented. Ideally it is someone who has a good understanding of your products, and enough customer interaction to identify needs and trends.