Holmes Report 27 Feb 2014 // 6:58PM GMT
By Erin Robbins O'Brien It’s also the plural of “datum” if you want to get specific about it. So what’s causing the increasing discussions about data (big, small, or any other size you want to reference) and how it applies to the world of communications? (Note, I’m using communications as a term to describe the often colliding worlds of PR, social media, marketing, content, and a slew of other job titles that exist.) [caption id="attachment_1794" align="alignright" width="168"] Erin Robbins O'Brien[/caption] I’m not going to lie, it’s hard for me to talk to people who have no facts or even an attempt at some evidence to back up their decisions, let alone business decisions that affect the lives of a lot of people. The reason it’s hard for me is because you don’t need a spreadsheet to make informed decisions. Data - it’s everywhere, comes in lots of formats, and can be utilized in multiple ways. Data is, afterall, just a single piece of information. Beyond the traditional numerical tabulations of sales goals, Facebook Like numbers, email open rates, etc. - data can also be what I’ll call, “soft data.” Soft data is often contextual, typically qualitative in nature, and may not re-formatted alongside additional data. Some examples of soft data might be:
- A conversation with a friend about a bad experience with a restaurant
- An article you read that rated the best coffee shops in the area
- A traffic report on the morning news
- A conversation with a friend about a bad experience with a restaurant. If your friend has a habit of complaining about everything, or you’ve heard glowing reviews from other patrons of the restaurant - maybe you’ll check the place out anyway.
- An article you read that rated the best coffee shops in the area. If you’re in desperate need of a caffeine fix and only the 8th best coffee shop is nearby, you’re likely to head there instead of driving to No. 1. Also, if the top-rated shops are more expensive or heavily trafficked with long lines, you likely won’t drop by there on a busy lunch hour.
- A traffic report on the morning news. Maybe the route you take just always has traffic, and you’ve already allocated time to cover it. Possibly the alternate routes are also backed up and not going to get you there any faster. Maybe you decide to take public transit or call in sick… So many options!