5 tips for understanding consumer data are in the chaotic stage of data evolution, said Tom+Chee Director of Marketing Marty Boyer in his “Data Rich & Insight Poor” session at NRA 2015. Although they have the ability to collect tons of data, restaurant operators barely understand what it all means, he said. In other words, it’s total chaos. Not only do restaurant operators lack insight into all this data, they often have no standards, no strategies or a plan to help analyze it and act. Operators tend to have a reactive approach when it comes to data insight because “we’re young as a data driven society,” he said.

Having data without knowing what to do with it useless. It’s the insight that allows us “to build a better mousetrap — data does not,” Boyer said. Data can provide a hypothesis of insights or actions, but it is not the action itself. For example, saying “I want more sales,” is a mistake. Sales are the benefit of building a better mousetrap. Said another way, data showing increased sales are the result of having better insight that can provide information for actions.

  1. Being clear about the kind of data you want. Ask yourself, what is it I care about? Capture that data.
  2. Making sure the data you capture can be visualized. Data visualization enables decision-making. If your data can’t be made visual, it is too complicated.
  3. Seeking ways to understand what the data tell you. “Be a verb,” Boyer said. Ask for insight, not data. Don’t hide behind meaningless data.
  4. Allowing the data to inspire creativity. Data can never take the place of imagination.
  5. Letting the user experience figure out what data you need. This can establish a consistent brand experience across channels.
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