Consumer Insights: Telling the stories behind the numbers

Almudena Bonet Medina    26 November, 2018

Written by Almudena Bonet Big Data, Advanced Analytics & Consumer Insights at LUCA consulting analytics

“A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

Steve Jobs had clear from the dawn of his career what it meant to find a good insight. On the other hand, on the side of the rest of the mortals, ordinary women and men have had to settle for finding clues that allow them to understand the perceptions and motivations that condition the behaviour of the rest of their fellow human beings, thus trying to extract the maximum performance of their economic activities.

Specifically to the suit of clients, consumers, visitors, patients, users, students … There are many nouns to define the relationship that is generated with people in different areas. What they all have in common is that they are based on relationships that aim to solve a series of needs that are more or less visible, constant or changing over time.

From the point of view of a company, it is not only about selling a product, a service, an experience and that’s it; and forgetting the user and never seeing him again. It is intended to generate a repetition, retain a user and turn it into a subscriber. But, for this, it is necessary to unveil the hidden truths that impel you to act and, even, anticipate their needs.

Achieving that goal is the key to continuously being in a position of knowing the client better, while offering creative and satisfactory answers to their needs. Analyzing, for example, the wow and pain points experienced by the user in his daily life and in relation to the brand, is postulated as a relevant source of information that helps get those insights.

How do we structure this process in a systematized way? Big Data technologies allow us to work precisely with these new sources of information, both internal and external. It allows us to go beyond a simple questionnaire (as Jobs already knew), and being able to process and compute data that until now had not been possible to even be captured. Data that, on the other hand, will be key to enter that world of what is hidden below the surface. With Big Data and advanced analytics we will be able to go beyond the execution as such of strategies, allowing us to focus on building more lasting relationships.

However, all this will not help if the people within the organization do not acquire an experimental attitude, fleeing from the conventional and actively counting on an integral vision of the data. The mentality must also change to stop showing raw data and start telling stories with them; to facilitate decision making and compete in optimal conditions, offering the best user experience at the right time.

A good narrative, supported by data through visualization and adapted to the interlocutor, transmits the information more effectively. In Amazon, for example, power point presentations are not allowed and it seems that bullet points are loaded by the devil. The alternative is to find a narrative structure that facilitates recall and extraction of conclusions.

As experts in advanced analytics, we are required to know the story behind the numbers to build an adequate script, based on numbers and away from “science fiction”, to fully enter the “hyperrealism” of what could to be put on the skin of the consumer. Like when one faces a good story, the most traditional perception of reality must be suspended momentarily to try to create new connections. Which, with the partial view of the data that was had so far, without having the full frame, it had not been possible to glimpse.

It is very easy to get lost in a sea of data without reaching relevant and actionable conclusions, which allow us to find quality insights such as those of the father of information technology as we know it now. It is not always necessary to be so ambitious and revolutionize the consumer industry, but let’s not lose the opportunity to maximize the value that can be extracted from a project. Let’s go beyond showing a very specific analytical output that may not be suitable for all audiences.

Know your audience, find the right context, choose the right data and follow the advice of one of the best storytellers, Jean Luc Godard: sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form.

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