If there is one thing insight professionals and marketers aren't short of these days, that's data. From page views to real-time sentiment, it has never been easier to collect data.
But data alone doesn't lead to insights.
To make sense of data, you need to understand the systems in your business that contribute to the wealth of customer data available to you. All of these internal and external listening posts in your company comprise the components of an insight ecosystem.
Figuring out where to start searching for insight is often the first challenge. For this reason, it's wise to classify the types of information available. What does each one tell you about your customers and their experiences with your brand?
Organizing these sources into transactional, behavioral, social and attitudinal sets will ensure you set the right expectations of what types of insight can be extracted.
- Transactional: Collect the transactional data left behind by your customers - what they buy, when they buy it, and where they buy it. This type of data could come from your financial reports, activity records and other logistics documentation.
- Behavioral: Observe the decision-making processes of your customers - what they do, and how they interact with your company.
- Social: Listen to what your customers are saying about you, and to you, on social media. When combined with other data, what you hear from social helps uncover emerging issues your brand needs to address or unknown opportunities you can take advantage of.
- Attitudinal: Ask questions to get to the heart of how your customers feel about you, and why. Through an insight community, you can better understand people's motivations and attitudes about their brand. Attitudinal data adds depth and perspective and can flesh out your insights.
Having the tools and resources in place to connect these systems will allow you to combine fact-based data (collected transactions, observed behavior) with your customer's opinions (social comments heard and read, attitudes expressed in structured conversations). This helps to build a more complete picture of why your customers do the things that they do, and to learn how you can more effectively engage with them.
If you have more ideas on the insight ecosystem, please share them with us!