As marketers, we are bombarded with a myriad of data, research and analytics everyday. We can find almost everything on the Internet, yet, how do we comprehend and internalize the data out there?
Here are a couple tips that I’ve found very useful for wading through the overwhelming amount of marketing information available:
- Know what to filter
I make sure that I know my company’s corporate objectives, business challenges, marketing plans and campaigns. I pay attention to data, trends and research which are pertinent to my company, the industry we are in, the competitive landscape and marketing in general. Having a holistic view helps me understand the connections between corporate objectives and marketing campaigns. I can better communicate with managers on a strategic level and share marketing results in the context of business objectives and challenges.
Key takeaway: Create your own filtering criteria. Whether you interact with senior managers or not, it’s beneficial to know what they care about. If you are a copywriter, it can be challenging to tie your work to your company’s business objectives. However, you should be able to articulate how your copy impacts your marketing campaigns.
- Create your own category
I categorize research, data and analysis by mega trends, mid-term outlook and short-term insight. 3-D printing is a mega trend which may impact business objectives in the future. I need to be aware of it, but it’s not immediately relevant to my daily job. iPad and PC unit growth is a good example of mid-term outlook which directly impacts business objectives. I need to stay on top of it. Articles about such things as the best ways to increase leads or increase engagement on Twitter are short-term insights that may be helpful to me in my daily job.
Key takeaway: Categorize research, data and analysis by mega trends in a way that makes sense to you. It can be by products, by topics, by timeline, by urgency or by jobs. For my use, I typically categorize by timeline.
- Paraphrase your key learnings
After an initial filtering and categorizing, you will start to review the content. If I do find the content interesting and insightful, I will set it aside for a more thorough read through. While I am re-reading it, I will try to make a connection to my job and my company’s business objectives. I will also paraphrase the data verbally to ensure that I internalize it.
Key takeaway: Slow is fast. To efficiently utilize the data, you need to spend enough time to comprehend the data.
I see data, analytics and research as a way to “connect the dots”, to validate my point of view, understand the future trend and optimize my marketing tactics. Quickly filter the data that may not be useful to you. Mentally categorize the data and paraphrase it to ensure that you have internalized it all.
Being able to internalize trends related to your specific industry/product/etc. will allow you to make informed decisions and seize opportunities to take advantage of the current marketing landscape that might have otherwise gone undiscovered.