Data is useless unless it’s actionable

Word Cloud "Big Data"Less than half (40%) of the businesses surveyed by Harris Poll for Hootsuite’s Social Business Benchmark report said they used data gained from social media to improve their bottom line. 60% agreed that it was a challenge to find the actionable use of the data collected.

However, 84% of the 750 businesses surveyed said they felt social media could add value to enhancing relationships with existing customers, 81% said it provides the means to learn about a company’s reputation and 79% that it allows them to monitor external communication. Many agreed that aligning social media strategy across different departments was difficult.

The promise that big data can solve every marketing problem is a canard.  Too many managers have too much data to mine and as a result, they can’t seem to make up their minds on what is actionable and what is “nice to know”.  More importantly, organizations who require weeks and months of meetings to get simple things done are at a disadvantage because actionable data does not have a long shelf life.

dilbert-analysis-bad-assumptions

You can collect all the data you want, but if you’re not acting on what you learn or you’re in an analysis paralysis mode the data you collect is worthless.  Managers who can quickly manage the risks of data and implementation are the ones who will be successful.