Moun­tains of data can be turned into busi­ness suc­cess

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS -

Busi­nesses have never had so much data at their dis­posal. But many are fail­ing to use the in­for­ma­tion to help them make in­formed de­ci­sions.

The latest sur­vey by Brand & Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, global lead­ers in mo­bile data, polled more than 2,700 mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als across the Asia Pa­cific re­gion. It showed that the vol­ume and va­ri­ety of data is mak­ing it harder for busi­nesses to use it to their ad­van­tage.

Chi­nese com­pa­nies are in­vest­ing more in data-driven dig­i­tal plat­forms and track­ing sys­tems to help them un­der­stand the chal­leng­ing online land­scape.

Much of this data comes into the mar­ket­ing depart­ment, with one in three pro­fes­sion­als now man­ag­ing real-time sta­tis­tics as part of their job.

But 65 per­cent of those in­volved in the in­dus­try in China ad­mit they find it dif­fi­cult to deal with data from dif­fer­ent sources. With so much sta­tis­tics avail­able, many are strug­gling to in­te­grate tra­di­tional and dig­i­tal mea­sure­ments.

China is one of the most ad­vanced coun­tries in the world when it comes to online plat­forms. This has re­sulted in a gen­er­a­tion of un­prece­dented vol­umes of con­sumer be­hav­ior sta­tis­tics.

The good news is that mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als have a wealth of in­for­ma­tion at their dis­posal. Yet, it is not al­ways easy to know how to ap­proach the data in or­der to re­veal hid­den in­sights that rep­re­sent busi­ness value.

Be­cause of the dif­fi­cul­ties with real-time sta­tis­tics, many mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als are re­vert­ing to tra­di­tional meth­ods. Sales fig­ures are still used as the No 1way of eval­u­at­ing the suc­cess of mar­ket­ing cam­paigns.

De­spite their im­por­tance, these met­rics are ret­ro­spec­tive and do not em­power busi­nesses to track the on­go­ing re­sults of cam­paigns and re­act to live is­sues. In ad­di­tion, re­search meth­ods are not help­ing mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als make quick and in­formed de­ci­sions.

Anal­y­sis is viewed as “too slow” to be of use, ac­cord­ing to the Brand sur­vey in China.

The dif­fi­cul­ties in ex­tract­ing valu­able in­sight from data mean that mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als have a rearviewmir­ror ap­proach. They only un­der­stand the per­for­mance of their brands weeks or even months af­ter­ward.

Real-time data needs to de­liver real-time value— oth­er­wise it’s just dis­tract­ing noise.

Ob­vi­ously, there are coun­tries fur­ther ahead when deal­ing with dig­i­tal data. De­spite hav­ing some of the most ad­vanced so­cial media plat­forms in the world, China is in fact lag­ging be­hind, with only one in three us­ing so­cial media mon­i­tor­ing when mak­ing mar­ket­ing de­ci­sions.

Tap­ping into dig­i­tal data has the po­ten­tial to un­lock fu­ture op­por­tu­ni­ties for busi­nesses. Brand found that two out of three mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als across Asia are frus­trated with the lack of in­sight pro­vided by tra­di­tional re­search.

Newmeth­ods are show­ing that dig­i­tal data, when in­te­grated cor­rectly, can not only help make real-time de­ci­sions, but also pre­dict brand strength.

As long as peo­ple have been talk­ing about big data, there has been the prom­ise of us­ing so­cial media and search con­tent to pro­vide an in­stant snap­shot of what con­sumers are say­ing, think­ing and feel­ing.

Big data is a broad term for pro­cess­ing vast amounts of com­plex sta­tis­tics, which can be boiled down into mar­ket and con­sumer trends. The po­ten­tial, of course, is ob­vi­ous.

Mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als would be able get their hands on un­fil­tered opin­ions and re­spond ac­cord­ingly. They would get a full pic­ture of what is hap­pen­ing to the brand right now.

As the pace of change ac­cel­er­ates across the re­gion, we need to start us­ing data to gaze into the fu­ture, not just mea­sure the here and now.

The au­thor is man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Brand & Com­mu­ni­ca­tions at TNS Asia Pa­cific

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