How businesses can use data the right way to drive better outcome

Data is essential to marketers when they need to make decisions and grow their businesses, but leveraging the right way still persist as a problem for some. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE collaborated with IAB Hong Kong to examine how marketers can effectively use data to make better decisions and the overall data literacy in Hong Kong. 

David Leigh, project lead at data and analytics consultancy fifty-five said businesses looking to better use data first need to prioritise their objectives, and identify where the data is from. "For most businesses, data generated from their company websites can tell the insights into user acquisition performances, overall user experience and general demographics. Mobile-first businesses can begin with robust measurement across their mobile apps to improve user engagement," he said. 

After which business need to validate the insights with information they already have in hand. Without this counterbalance, errors in data wrangling and interpretation may take place, resulting wrong decisions and business strategies being taken. 

When it comes to data, privacy is also a key concern for marketers. From the General Data Protection Regulation in the European Union, to the upcoming The Personal Information Protection Law in China, the penalties for illegitimate use of data are extensive and can affect companies globally. Before making use of data, marketers need to ensure that data is only collected with user consent. They also need to assure that the data is being stored securely and being used for a legitimate reason as part of their best practices. 

Leigh said to increase data analysis efficiency and create more value, it is necessary for marketers to move from descriptive to predictive, and then prescriptive analytics. He said descriptive analytics takes data that an organisation already has and is able to tell what happened in the past.

"But when it comes to decision-making and forecasting activities, it requires predictive and prescriptive analytics to show what is likely to happen based on historical patterns and following by recommendations on the best action to take, he said adding:

Predictive and prescriptive analytics play a vital role in guiding corporate decisions in the modern business world.

We all know the importance of data and what data can help, but an even more important question is whether marketers can handle data. Leigh told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that data literacy levels in Hong Kong is varied. 

"On one hand you have lots of very technically skilled people, with several local universities now offering courses geared towards data and analytics. On the other hand, there is an abundance of traditional large-cap companies working with very antiquated technology stacks that hinder the deployment of sophisticated data-driven use cases," he said. 

When dealing with companies hosting huge volumes of data but struggle to unify and make appropriate use of it, Leigh suggested that when working with these companies, businesses can design quick-to-deploy use-cases which ensure that data serves a fulfilling role within the companies’ operations and decision-making, demonstrating the business case to upper management.