Today I want to talk about why data follows conversation.
In the creative world it is widely accepted that form follows function. I’ve never met a great designer who doesn’t first need to define what you want to achieve and how, rather than just diving straight into lines and colours and I’m confident that if Simon Hutchings watches this (he’s a fantastic designer I know) that he would absolutely agree, that form has to follow function.
I know that it’s part of his process, he will not bring colour into a brand process, until the form of the brand is defined. Then he’ll move out of black and white into the wider Technicolor spectrum.
So in the same way that form follows function, for me data follows conversation.
And this is what I mean;
The outcome of great design is action.
Defining function at the start ensures the right action is the outcome, and the outcome of great data for me is conversation. Whether it’s a phone call, a checkout completed, or a sign up to a mailing list, whether it’s a brand new customer, whether it’s retention of an existing customer, whether it’s development of a partnership, whatever it is, without a doubt, for me, the outcome of great data is conversation.
So defining the conversations you want to have with your prospects at the beginning is vital to getting the data picture right.
It’s also totally crucial to avoiding horrendous levels of data overload, overwhelm and irrelevance to the business. There’s no point collecting the wrong data and then not being able to find the right data amongst that haystack of needles.
Ultimately you have to focus on getting the data right.
When you get the data right you will be able to do useful things with it, and in order to get the data right of course you’ve got to define the types of conversations you want to be having with your marketplace, with your customers and with your prospective customers. So defining that at the beginning, defining those conversations is absolutely key.
Once you know what the conversations are that you want to have, you can start building the data requirements, the data picture, the data sets of relevance. You can start to then build out the types of avatars that you want, that are going to give you that data. It may not even be your customers giving you the right stuff at the start, it may be introducers that you need to build conversations with first to get to the right customers that you want to talk to.
This entire process will help you determine the best key performance indicators, because now you’ll know the conversations you want to have, and so therefore you’ll know what kind of data you want to have. You’ll know what the data landscape looks like, so you’ll be able to build the right measures of the right numbers.
And ultimately if you get all of that right, the best result is that you’re going to be able to analyse the right trends.
You’re not going to have the wrong data pointing you in the wrong direction. You’ll have the right data pointing you in the right direction and that will add more value to you, to your customers and to your prospective customers.
If you start the other way round, you’ll be collecting big data but it won’t be right data.
And that’s the key.
There’s no point just collecting data for data’s sake.
So make sure you put conversation at the beginning of your plan and work out what data to collect and don’t do it the other way around.
You can find out more about this, and we’re here to help for free, my team and I, if you go to Facebook and LinkedIn and look up free marketing help, hopefully you’ll find us.
Or if you just find TepFu’s pages you’ll find it there.
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