How to Avoid Data Paralysis

I consider myself good at making tough decisions, but when faced with a deluge of conflicting information from a variety of sources, it can sometimes be difficult to discern a clear course of action.

Even choosing a new restaurant can be daunting if you seek input from everyone who’s visited the restaurant with opinions about the food, the menu selections, the service and the prices.  And often I’ve received reports and seen social media postings that are wildly conflicting – ranging from rave reviews to critical opinions about everything including the restaurant atmosphere, wait times and most importantly taste of the food.

Typically, I try to consider the trustworthiness of the source of the review as well as the factors most important to me to determine whether I’m willing to try something new and make my own decision on its value. I’ll weigh negatives and positives and try to put together a clear picture of what to expect.

There’s actually a name for having so much information that it overwhelms you into inaction: data paralysis.

My warning to marketers is don’t let data paralysis cause you to abandon data-driven marketing strategies that can push your efforts and results far above your competition’s.

Here are some difficult lessons I’ve learned along the way to successful data-driven marketing:

  1. Make sure the data you’re using is clean and current. Decisions made using incomplete, inaccurate or outdated customer and prospect records can lead to actions that will have the opposite effect of your desired outcome.
  1. Augment your own data with third-party data to get a clearer picture of customers and prospects. No one source usually has all of the data that you need to form a complete picture.
  1. Align yourself with your IT department to make accessing all of your customer data easier and interpreting business intelligence more meaningful.
  1. Establish clear goals for revenue, upselling and customer service and understand how to measure your wins in each. Use these metrics to determine if the data-driven choices you’ve made are working.
  1. Use the data and make adjustments based on your key performance indicators. Results is the crux of really making and showing a difference when using data.  Every interaction, each demographic element about the contact, psychographic information about their interests all need to be collected and analyzed to determine which are the important bits of data that define your ideal customer. And that’s where data paralysis can set in for marketers not used to evaluating all of these different data points.  Before you can even begin to segment customers and prospects and develop targeted messages for these personas, you have to determine their identity.
  1. Seek the assistance of data experts, like AccuData Integrated Marketing, to help you gain a deeper understanding of your customers and prospects.

Here’s perhaps my sagest piece of advice: when you’re ready to move beyond the transactional data you’ve collected, and develop a robust picture of your customers, you’ll need to employ data scientists that can provide customized data modeling.

Rather than data paralysis, the results will be higher response rates, more customer engagement and increased marketing ROI.  And who doesn’t want that?  Just like diving in and finding a new restaurant I love, mining your data for valuable insights can lead to new, better results!

Written by AccuData Integrated Marketing

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