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Why business data is useless without insight

Why business data is useless without insight

A plethora of data is now accessible to every business owner, big or small. Everyone has access to their own sales, google analytics, and even market data, but what do you do with all this?

Most people look at it once or twice, get overwhelmed or confused and move on. That’s a completely normal response as 95% of people in a business aren’t analytical and/or trained as a data analyst.

People that do have some familiarity, often will sort data with visualisation techniques into things such as graphs or reports. But this is not actually helpful to anyone else in the business as it only tells you if something is good or bad, going up or down.

What you should really be focussing on is finding insights within your data.

What is an insight?

An insight is the finding you get from inside your data. It’s the skill of being able to understand the data you have and turn it into a statement or sentence that anyone in your business can understand.

An example of an insight is: 

“Males between the age of 24-36 are more likely to repeat purchase inside the first 90 days when compared against females in the same age bracket”

The key benefit of providing insights over general data visualisation techniques is it gives people who are not data analysts information that help inform business decisions in a simple yet powerful way. It arms them with meaningful information that they can use to make future decisions on the business.

What’s even better than an insight however, is an actionable insight.

What is an actionable Insight?

An actionable insight is a piece of information or ‘insight’ that has an actionable outcome or recommendation attached to it. An example of an actionable insight is:

“Males between the age of 24-36 are more likely to repeat purchase inside the first 90 days when compared against females in the same age bracket, therefore in future advertising campaigns you should upweight media spend towards males aged 24-36 as it will generate a higher lifetime value customer for the business."

The last section of this example is the ‘actionable’ insight.

“therefore in your future advertising campaigns you should upweight media spend towards males as it will generate a higher lifetime value customer for the business."

Insights without action are just an insight. Finding what action you can take from them is what allows your business to take action and grow, evolve and make impactful changes. Businesses that foster a culture of finding actionable insights will be more likely to innovate and gain massive competitor advantage over their competition.

Summary

In summary, data is only truly useful if you can develop insights from it, even more so if these lead to actionable outcomes. This is when data becomes powerful for businesses and business owners as you will have statistically backed information and recommendations that will drive future growth, revenue and brand equity.

Published by Alex Jordan