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Information is getting easier to gather as technologies evolve, but what do we DO with that information once we have it? Is there such a thing as too much data?

Most people would agree that information overload is a real thing that can be overwhelming and lead to decision paralysis. Collating data you’ve gathered can become a huge task, and finding the relevant information becomes more important when you have a goal in mind.

More information does not necessarily bring us closer to our goal. Ensuring that your information gathering is relevant can lead to a better, faster, and more efficient decision making process.

So how do you determine useful data from that which will clog your pipeline and waste your time?

Know what you’re looking for.

Marketers can only do so much with even the most useful data. They have to use instinct, intuition, experience, judgement and skills, both innate and learned, to make their decisions. The wrong information could seriously negatively impact the decision making process.

It’s surprisingly easy to overlook a decision altering piece of data if it’s not clear what you’re looking for. It’s all too common to get caught up in searching for answers to trivial questions, rather than the ones that make a difference to the outcome of the data analysis. Asking the right questions is vital to gathering useful information in any situation.

What is the right data?

Often, the right data is not a single set of criteria, but the conclusions you can draw by combining information. The questions you seek to answer must be specific and detailed. Define your goal, then figure out what the answer looks like.

If you’re selling a product, this means defining your ideal customer. Who needs this product? What have they purchased in the past? When is the right time to ask for their business, and what is the right medium to deliver that message? Hidden in your data are all the answers you need. You’re looking for a subset of customers and the most efficient way to approach them.

You may also be interested in predictive data. Instead of separating individual customers for targeted marketing, you can look at larger patterns and trends to predict when a launch will be most successful, and what kind of stimuli resonates best with your audience.

Information needs to be clear, concise and consumable.

New information is what we, as humans, naturally seek, and it’s all too easy to become distracted by the trivialities of non-essential data. The brain more easily computes pictures than words and numbers, and simple graphs can save a lot of time in the data evaluation process. Productivity could increase exponentially if the bulk of useful customer information is presented visually, rather than in lengthy word and number format.

Reducing the information overload to a more manageable level is thought to reduce stress levels and reaction times, and therefore to increase potential productivity, lowering costs and increasing output.

Keeping the volume of information in each visual concise and clear makes that information easier to absorb, retain, and recall later. Recollection of specific data is just as important as initial collection, and graphics can really drive home the memorable facts and help with faster recounting of pertinent information.

Efficiently and effectively managing data collection provides information with far greater actionable potential and deeper insight into the wants and needs of your clients, enabling well informed campaigns to be targeted directly.

Marketing of all types relies on an intended audience reacting positively to an offered solution. Using these tips, you could reduce the incoming data-waste, making your collated information more effective than ever before, allowing you to reach your intended audience and give them what they desire most – great value.


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About Megan Totka

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

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