Actionable insights are, no doubt, one of the most important aspects of any business that utilizes data. In fact, a Forrester report states that seventy four percent of business firms want to be data-driven, but only twenty nine percent of the firms are successful at connecting the missing link between analytics and action.
Actionable insights are, no doubt, one of the most important aspects of any business that utilizes data. In fact, a Forrester report states that seventy four percent of business firms want to be data-driven, but only twenty nine percent of the firms are successful at connecting the missing link between analytics and action. This shows how difficult it can be for a company to successfully analyze their data to make and act on decisions that would impact the future of the company or business. Therefore, for companies to be able to successfully push business outcomes from their data, they need to invest in actionable insights.
While it’s true that actionable insights can propel your business
forward, you also need to know that many technology marketers aren’t exactly
sure of what actionable insights are. Most marketers confuse data and
information with insights. These three factors are very different from each
other. Let’s break it down to help you understand the differences between the
Data – The process starts with the
collation of data. Data is the unprocessed, raw facts that mostly come in form
of texts or numbers. They can be either qualitative, such as verbatim from VOC,
or quantitative, otherwise known as observed. Data is usually in
computer-friendly formats, and they are often found in spreadsheets and
Information – Information is data that has been
prepared, processed, aggregated, and organized into a format that can be easily
understood by humans. Information is often depicted in the form of reports,
data visualizations, as well as dashboards.
Insights – Insights are usually gained
through the analysis of both data and information. They help businesses to
understand what is going on in a particular situation and why that particular
process is happening.
Recommendation – This is the suggested action that
comes after insights have been carefully analyzed.
Simply put, information and data lay the foundation on which
insights are built. And when insights are fully discovered, they are used to
drive change and influence decisions through recommendations. Let’s make this a
lot easier by providing an example:
EMAIL LIST EXAMPLE
Email list size grew from 300,000 in May to a
total of nine million.
List size has been increasing each month
Acquisition Lead Gen sources have lower COI
rates than average as leads are not as highly qualified.
Track or value leads differently
Q4 2017 saw biggest percentage increase
Invest in better lead sources
Biggest increase was in acquisition Lead Gen
Incent vendors based on COI vs. leads.
Although the size is growing, the percentage of
usable emails decreased in Q4
table above shows what happened to the email list of a company. First is the
data, which makes no sense. Data leaves us with questions like: what made the
list grow? How did it grow? What did the company do that led to the rapid
increase? What time did the growth reach the stage where it is now?
is a lot easier to understand than data as it takes us through the email
increase process. Insights provides us with the reason why, while
recommendations is a list of potential solutions.
FOR ANALYSIS (DEVELOPING ACTIONABLE INSIGHTS)
When you can analyze data and information, and use them to make
strategic and impactful decisions, then you have developed actionable insights.
For an insight to be considered as actionable, the analysis should be able to
tell us why we see the results we see, and also, what we need to do next to
move on from there.
There is no one way to develop actionable insights as there are
quite a number of factors to be considered for analysis. Let’s take a look at
some of them, shall we?
In order to know how actionable your data insights are, you need
to consider some very important factors including:
Audience – You need to thoroughly examine
what you know about your audience. Features such as demographics,
psychographics, user states, and behaviors should be carefully considered as
this might help explain the results you are seeing or suggest other
Offer – Sometimes, the offer is what
drives the result. You need to examine your offer components, such as known
receptivity to content, price, and offer by audience. Analyzing your offer can also
help pinpoint why you are getting a specific result.
Context – This has to do with communication
and interaction. Analyzing what is going on outside your own communication
vehicle can help you determine why you are getting a specific response. You can
take a look at your consumer experience elements, other channels where the
consumer might have been exposed to the promotion, economic, political, and
cultural factors, etc.
Creativity – Does your offer look creative
enough? Maybe the way your offer is designed is what is making it effective or
ineffective. Factors such as language and imagery should be considered.
Additionally, working strategies/practices used by other businesses should also
Technicality – Are you getting the results you
are getting because of technical issues? Outages, load time, link issues, and
other technical factors should be carefully analyzed.
ATTRIBUTES TO CONSIDER
Alignment – Insights should be closely tied to
your most important business goals and strategic objectives. This way, the
chances of the insight driving action will increase. Your reaction to a
particular metric matters. It would all be in vain if you are looking at a
significantly decreasing or increasing metric and you don’t know what to do
Context – Provide yourself with an ample
background to understand and appreciate why the insight is important. Most
times, you’ll need to make comparisons or review different benchmarks in order
to provide your data with proper context.
Relevance – You need to consider the audience,
as well as the decision-makers as they are the ones that will provide your
insights with the right attention. You need to ensure that you deliver to the
right people at the right time. A strong insight to you can be nothing but
noise to another person. Ensure that your insights are timely as well in order
for you not to lose your hold on stakeholders.
Specificity – Ensure that your insights are
precise and clear. If your insights do not have enough information, make
further researches and come up with concise insights that are straight to the
point and backed up with adequate statistical information.
Novelty – Come up with new insights. Novel
insights are bound to have more advantage over old insights. A new pattern is
always more compelling than a pattern that has been experienced over ten,
twenty times. There are some certain insights that may cause us to lose
interest if they do not challenge or change our current knowledge.
Clarity – Clearly communicating your insight
cannot be overemphasized. Good communication will ensure that your insights are
not lost in the noise. Ensure that your insights are clearly understood and
seen by utilizing the right messages and visualizations.
When analyzing you actionable
insights, ensure that you put both consumer oriented data sets and the business
oriented data sets into consideration.
Always ensure to make your insights
reach the right set of people. The proper audience is very critical when it
comes to actionable insights. And whenever you make recommendations, ensure
that they are shared with the parties that influenced or own the solutions.
There are insights that can remain
consistent over time. Read-outs on recommendations and insights can be slightly
differentiated to reflect the status of related discussions.
Insights have more power when the
bigger picture is shared and clearly understood. Ensure that your digital
marketing team create opportunities that will enable collaboration across
digital marketing groups in order to help understand and create this picture.