Data, the beginning or the end?

There are two things that can boost my mood, they are writing or reading. Either one always help me to see different angle or lead me to a point of whatever happen to me, it’s just a fragment piece of the universe. Most of time, this make me understand more things and be positive. How so? When I write, I like to dig deeper on things that inspire me which lead me to read more. Whereas when I read, it would inspire me to write things from a new angle or simple connect with anything at my surrounding.

So this time a good friend of mine asking me to write something about data. And I found myself laugh at the moment as few weeks back I remember reading an article about data as the new oil. For me, that is half correct. I believe finding ways to map out the data then understand how to use the data forward is what matter most.

I was lucky, my early journey in digital space was all about data research. Digging up hundreds of thousand social media posts since the early age of Facebook and Twitter. The Windows 8 launch was one of few campaigns I remember involved with. For this one, Microsoft has done quite superb effort to gather insights prior to the official launch of the product, during and also after. I can’t remember which APAC countries involved but South East Asia’s countries are a definite list. We map out comments from forums, posts from Twitter, Facebook, blogs up to official news site to draw insights from it.

Our biggest challenge at the time is to present the data as findings and suggest actionable recommendations from it. Again, it was not easy as social media was just a newborn at the time and gathering insights from it was also new. It was not easy for the team to gather additional info to support our findings and turn social media buzz into insights or moreover facts.

Then, should data be the beginning or the end in developing products or brands? From my humble opinion, it could be both as it will be depending on your needs.

Let’s say you’re about to present a new product or brand to a market. Data should be your beginning. Well, thanks to social media, digging insights no longer premium stuff which can be done by big research company. With Google or late Topsy – I’m still waiting what would Apple do to the once the best social media search engine – we can do our own research about the target market, competitors.

Well it’s a free information world after all. Some of us might already aware that we can use Google to dig all you need to know about your target consumers from their preference up to social media activities with one note bear in mind, you know what keywords to use and what to search.

But this is when things getting more interesting, once a product or brand release to the market, you would need data as your closest partner and also your end as a form of review. Why I said it’s an end? Because this is the point where you want to move forward with what you have or end of your campaign and make the data as a new beginning.

For me personally, when I draft a proposal or came up with certain ideas. Data has always been my first pit stop and use it to support my deck. To answer questions, like how can I make it more than a pile of words or pretty images or how can I relate to my audience or my client.

There are lots of analytic tools out there, from free up to super expensive ones. However, what most us fail to see is that, understanding what the data said and how to use to it for the benefit of our works, products or anything across your mind is required one who knows to map it out and translate it into more friendly language. From pile of numbers or charts into words we spoke every day.

In return to her, who inspire me to write on this piece, I’d like to introduce her baby, Ombaq to all of you, who are willing to spare time reading my writing. As much as I’m grateful for your time reading this, I’d be thankful if you visit her site for a minute or two. For brands using social media would find Ombaq very helpful as the tools could help you to do bulk scheduling. What’s a bulk scheduling? Check out the site to find out more 🙂

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