Looking for the sweet spot in a treasure trove of data? Uncover the insight

 
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Data, data, data. These days we are awash in it - big data, small data and everything in between. And thanks to cloud computing, an endless supply of inexpensive data just keeps coming.

Gartner forecasts that by 2020, the number of smart devices will more than double to 20 billion. By 2025, an average connected person will interact with one of these devices nearly 4,800 times per day, according to IDC. Feeling overwhelmed yet?

Making sense of the vast amount of readily available data has necessitated companies' demand for data scientists to chase the pot of gold that even larger treasure troves of data will bring. However, does more data automatically translate to a better understanding of consumer habits and sentiment? Not necessarily. Data for data’s sake should not be driving a company’s marketing strategy or its communications plan. Numbers alone can only scratch the surface to understand for example the buying preferences of suburban moms or which brands are socially valuable to millennials. 

Hidden within all of that data are the authentic nuggets called insights. Insights uncover behavior that will more readily predict when, where and why consumers will buy your products. What’s an insight? It’s the capacity to gain an accurate and deep intuitive understanding of a person or a thing. Ultimately, an insight is the beliefs, behaviors or needs that drive your audience to make a decision.

With all of this data, how do I find the golden insight? 

  • Start at a high level with quantitative data to get a general understanding of consumer preferences 
  • Take what you’ve learned and combine it with first-hand observations otherwise known as qualitative data
  • Combine both methodologies digging deep to prove and disprove your theories again and again 

Your insight not your data should tell the story. A common mistake is relying too much on the data to fit a preconceived assumption about your audience. When you find yourself referencing every statistical point, the data is driving your decision making. Take a step back and look at the big picture. Ultimately, with a lot more digging, you will strike gold.