Insight into action: A blend of art and science

The challenge most businesses have today is to not let data become data for data’s sake. We are surrounded by a vast range of insight sources and how you use these to take action is important. A good data set doesn’t guarantee results; correct application does!

Diving into data can be overwhelming: which pieces of information should you act on? How should you proceed with this insight? What’s the best channel, the best messaging? Too often we see businesses struggling to answer these questions effectively, partly because they are unclear which bits of insight to listen to. Knowing which pieces of science to act on is an art.

Having the ‘knowhow’

This is where insight professionals and subject matter experts should earn their stripes, but this is still only half the story. Once you have identified the relevant actionable insight or constructed your neat data story, the question is ‘what next?’ It’s of little benefit interpreting the insight unless you have the ‘knowhow’ to apply it effectively. Thus, creating and designing an insight driven campaign requires not only a deep understanding of the data but also the knowledge of its real-world applications, from customer communications and digital media to marketing strategy and more. At Starcount, it’s our purpose to not only provide the science and mastery of the data, but to guide you through the process for turning that insight in to something tangible (the art).

Part of guiding clients through that process is accepting that insight won’t tell you what to do, but it will show you what you should do, given the right context and application. Here are five key questions you should ask yourself before actioning any insight to confirm you are applying the art to your science:

  • Does it fit with your strategy and customer plan?
  • Will I be communicating the right message to the right audience?
  • Is the customer action/response reasonable?
  • Does the insight drive the action, not the other way around?
  • Am I focusing too much on one measure?
Does it fit with your strategy and customer plan?

Is the campaign or change you’re about to deliver in keeping with the business direction? The answer should be yes. Insight to action is a vehicle for supporting your strategy and should be aligned to business objectives.

If the answer is no, then are you acting on the right pieces of insight? And are you confident you have identified relevant actionable insights? Alternatively, are your objectives at odds with what insight is telling you? If so, take a step back and reassess what you are trying to achieve.

Will I be communicating the right message to the right audience?

One size doesn’t fit all. Whether engaging existing customers, re-engaging lapsed customers or communicating a specific message, the method, language and content will need to be tailored for each customer group and ideally each customer. Make sure your data is proficient enough to support sophisticated communications. Post-GDPR, this is now more important than ever; irrelevant communications are a surefire way to increase opt outs, and thus alienate a portion of your customer base.

Is the customer action/response reasonable?

If you are trying to bring about a change in customer behaviour, then you must consider the expectation on the customer. What customer action is required for success? Put yourself in their shoes – is it something you would do? Consider the customer journey and user experience, and keep it simple. In order to influence behaviour, the journey needs to be seamless – any complexity and the willing customers will turn their backs.

Does the insight drive the action, not the other way around?

A quick reflection on where you started. Insight should be the driver of your activity; it should shape everything from the channel to the audience and the content. If it doesn’t, perhaps you are not taking the best approach, as this is unlikely to give you the best results. Secondly, avoid the all too common trap of pre-determined decisions, which you later try to support with insight to validate your thinking. In the long run this doesn’t work and is a poor application of potential knowledge – always start with the insight and mould your activity accordingly.

Am I focusing too much on one measure?

In contrast to designing a campaign where we might have too much data to digest, in the evaluation stage, we famously focus on too little. There is more than one way to measure success of your activity and taking a wider perspective will help you to fully understand the impact on customer behaviour. Avoid getting tied down to one metric: it won’t tell the full story and makes it harder for you to learn and iterate the second time around. For example, improving customer engagement can be measured through a variety of metrics: response rates, click throughs, open rates, redemption and ‘likes’. Monitoring a few of these will help to understand where your activity has been successful and where it can be improved.

If you can satisfy all of the above, then this is a significant step in the right direction for turning your insight into successful action. Allow the data science to be your canvas, and your campaign the art – just make sure you’re using the right paints!

 

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