Demystifying data analysis: Using data to excel in business
By Jason Weekes, Commercial Director at CARMA
As the world tightens its belt to weather the economic storm, business budgets have taken a hit. New project wins are slowing down and becoming harder to attain, and demonstrating value to C-suites, prospects, and customers is tougher than ever.
PR budgets are usually the first on the chopping block when push comes to shove. But are businesses making false economies with their spending? It is time for PR teams to work smarter to show why they deserve a seat at the table.
Technology can help businesses smell the roses. In particular, data analytics is a powerful tool helping PR teams understand the intricacies of consumer behaviour and deliver communications that resonate with the right people, at the right time and right place. While some might perceive data to be for analysts, it is time to debunk that notion and see how data can help PR teams shine amidst a grey economic outlook.
Data is not just a numbers game.
Data analysis is not just sitting in front of a computer and staring at numbers all day. Whether it’s giving insights into how effective a campaign is, consumer perception or business credibility – data is a tool that goes hand-in-hand with successful planning, research and evaluation.
At the planning stage, PRs can use market research, audience awareness, understanding and engagement to give that all-important context at the ideation stage. Teams can use this data to inform how communications programs are structured and reduce the risk of taking a stab in the dark with no return on investment.
Another beneficial way PRs can use data is to understand their strengths and weaknesses and measure their perception against industry peers. Data can identify whitespace online, track themes like Environment and Social Governance (ESG) or Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) and how a business’ voice is perceived. Failure to regularly analyse strengths and weaknesses leaves no room for a business to grow, resulting in missed opportunities and wins.
The difference data makes in engagement
The competition for attention in the current economy is fierce. Content is saturated, new products and services are regularly launching, and businesses are constantly fighting to keep consumers engaged. Data analysis has never been more important. It helps businesses stay on the radar of their target audience with effective and memorable communications.
Take Uber as an example. Their systems analyse real-time ride data to enhance the customer experience and improve the overall efficiency of their operations. Data here serves as an excellent insight into user preferences and behaviours. These insights empower Uber to identify areas for service improvement and devise targeted and engaging campaigns, ultimately increasing user retention and loyalty.
Like with Uber, owned internal data equips businesses with the knowledge to steer their strategies in the right direction. Consumer behaviour analysis enables businesses to identify areas for improvement and pivot when necessary.
Why people are just as important
Trust is the cornerstone of successful business relationships. Whether communicating to the senior leadership team, client or a customer, data helps teams measure better and be transparent about the risks and benefits of a project or partnership with confidence.
Choosing the right measurement metrics, which include quantitative and qualitative analysis, will have far more credence than simply relaying the coverage secured each month. Volume is all well and good, but taking the data one step further with sentiment analysis and measuring social media engagement will cut through the noise to deliver what matters.
While cutting-edge technology powers data analysis, the human element precedes the most crucial factor. People play a central role to ask the right questions to interpret insights effectively and fact-check the results. Fundamentally, data is a bonus to human effort, as they will provide the needed context on how activity aligns with those critical corporate goals.
Unleashing the magic
Data analysis is not something to fear, as it can elevate the value of PR to new heights. With budgets having no mercy, data empowers PRs to build trust, engage stakeholders, and demonstrate the impact of their communication programs.
Data is everywhere and doesn’t require technical prowess to use it effectively. Irrespective of the industry, qualitative and quantitative data that go beyond standard counts and amounts help businesses stand out. Through economic challenges, these insights and analytics are an ally that enables businesses to thrive in the ever-complex business landscape.