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How Marketers Can Find The Truth In Data
By: Forbes
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Data alone is not a great storyteller.

Data by definition is facts. And facts shouldn’t conflict. They recreate the past, to help predict the future, solve cases and debunk myths by rooting out any doubt. But in the world of marketing, this isn’t always the case. Different data streams frequently tell different narratives – all of them buttressed by verified statistics. All of them convincing, at least on the surface. With data underpinning the largest brand activations and the lion’s share of most media plans, how do marketers know which data story to follow? Where does the truth lie?

To understand these differences, marketers have to start from the beginning and ask questions such as the following: What is the objective of collecting the data? Will it be collected from a sample or from the total population? Is it modeled, actual or survey data? Is the data reliable? What questions do we want to answer using the data?

Sometimes, the answers are simple. Further investigation can reveal that some data is faulty for any number of reasons, such as an unrepresentative sample. Often, different sources can appear on the surface to be telling conflicting stories when in fact it’s simply due to misaligned reporting formats. In those cases, it’s important to have those sources work collaboratively and/or bring in a third party with a strong background in data analysis to sort through all data pieces and formulate a unified reporting template that tells a coherent narrative and a single version of the truth.

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About the Author
This article originally appeared on Forbes.com. You'll find a link to the original after the post. www.forbes.com
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