You are busy. Everyday you are bombarded with stats and data on everything you use, it seems that even our coffee mugs are informing us with data. But are you being productive with this information?
Unfortunately, most people are not productive with their data. While collecting data may feel productive, it could actually be hurting your business instead of helping. That’s why it’s vital that you are focusing on the right things and plan to ACT on the data you are collecting.
What Makes Data Useless?
It’s very easy to get caught up collecting data and doing nothing with it. You collect this data and store it, but it gives you nothing to act on and doesn’t help you make any decisions. If you are collecting data and don’t act on it, then why waste time collecting it?
Vanity Metrics Are Useless
One form of data that is a waste of time to collect are vanity metrics. Vanity metrics make you feel good by showing you an attractive number, but they give you nothing to act upon. By collecting them and analyzing them, your business is no better off than it was before.
A great example of this is your number of social followers. If you were told that your social media accounts now have more followers that might feel pretty good, but do you know by how much? More importantly, do you know why? Without that information, you have no way to replicate it in the future.
Data That Promotes Inaction Is Useless
The reason that vanity metrics are so dangerous is because they promote inaction. Seeing a metric that makes you feel great is nice, but it can actually lead you to stall out your business. Metrics that don’t tell a story don’t push you to make changes, which means that they won’t lead to improvement.
It’s the equivalent of being told something is good, but not given feedback on how to make it great.
How To Use Actionable Data
Your rewards program might be full of accurate, specific, and tailored data but it’s only helpful if you know how to use it. Here are three quick, easy, and effective ways to take advantage of the data at your disposal.
Start With Questions
Using your data properly starts with asking the right questions. If you just jump into your numbers without having any goals in place, you’ll end up spending a lot of time sifting through metrics that don’t give you any actionable outcomes.
Start by defining your company goals and what you want to accomplish with your brand. If your current focus is to increase customer acquisition, then maybe your questions will focus on your referral program and how many customers are being acquired through it. Maybe you ran a double points event recently and you want to know what the impact has been on your redemption rate. Analyzing the ways different sales tactics and marketing initiatives have impacted your program are great ways of using your data.
Analyze With Questions In Mind
Now that you’ve defined your questions, it’s time to dive into your data and search specifically for the answers to each of them. This is relatively straightforward if the data provided is trimmed of vanity metrics and contains only the numbers that matter. Don’t waste your time looking at the numbers that will make you feel good - look at the numbers that will give you insight on how to improve your program
If you are looking for answers on whether your extra points event was effective, you can look at points activity and see if points transactions have surged. Similarly, you might have just made a new site banner that promotes your referral program and want to see if it is effective. You can check your referral traffic over time chart and visually see if your new initiative is having an impact.
Iterate, Experiment, and Test
This step here is the most important aspect of good data, so pay attention! Good data empowers you to iterate on your business, experiment with new things, and track how they are doing. Good data is actionable and to act on it you must try things, fail, and repeat.
Once you’ve begun a new initiative, make a point of checking up on it.Set parameters for success, such as 100 referral sales or 2x the average amount of points being spent. Check on the initiative, analyze whether it is successful by answering the questions you laid out ahead of time, and then make changes to improve it.
No matter what your data tells you, the worst thing you can do is sit still. A rewards program is not a set it and forget it tool, and this data empowers you to iterate on what you have, make it better, and track your progress along the way.
Data Can Drown You, But Can Also Change Your Business
It’s easy to get caught up in vanity metrics and gets lost in a sea of data that mean nothing. That’s why we’ve trimmed the vanity metrics and given you only the most actionable data for your program with Smile Analytics (shameless plug, I know). With Smile Analytics, you can finally use your rewards data to inform business decisions, iterate upon them, and improve your marketing efforts. A brand using actionable metrics intelligently is a brand that’s one step ahead of the competition.