Quality analysis demands quality approach. To work with the right data, come up with impactful insights and present meaningful visualizations while telling a memorable story and indicating valuable points for change or improvement, the analyst is destined to have a lot of headaches along the way. That is because any good web analysis project comes with pain.
A simple visualization by Jamie Shuttleworth, Karl Turnbull, and Ross McLean illustrates what it takes for the analyst to get to a significant insight using a folded piece of paper.
When the piece of paper is folded, it’s just you (the analyst) and the big idea (the very much wanted game-changing insight). But, if someone unfolds the paper, they could see all that it takes to get through that analytics process. Along with all the data, the stimuli, the tension and the influence from outsiders, there’s also a lot of pain to get there. But one good thing is that as an analyst, you learn along the way, so none of it goes to waste.
The pain is inevitable in the analysts work while they travel through the marketing analytics process. Here is why:
1. Combining uncomfortableness with passion
The analyst must feel a certain amount of uncomfortableness in order to obtain a really good idea.
“Our best ideas are simple, relevant and persuasive, certainly, but they’re also scary. Or challenging. Or abruptive…” (Great Ideas Call for Calculated Boldness)
What makes their job even more difficult is that they need to combine this feeling with a passion for what they do and tension that will produce creative thinking and great insights.
2. Balance between timeliness and perfection
Analysts have to use a lot of sources for data gathering, and each source has loads of data that grow bigger every day. Having access to all of them is an advantage if you can process them and analyze them quickly and efficiently. Otherwise, if you wait too long, they’ll become just a bunch of numbers and charts while the competition is already using the insights from their analysis. Working with the right data from the right sources at the right time and aligning all gathered data into a management system requires skills and patience.
On the other hand, the framework itself can make the process easier or more difficult and not to mention that before we put all the data into the software, they should be clean, well-organized, and error-free, but would never be perfect. It’s tough to know when is enough of tidying up the data.
3. Passionate storytelling backed with appealing visualization
Getting the meaningful insights doesn’t mean the job is done. That’s the moment when the real pain begins. Those insights should be put into a context, and explain what problems they are solving or what objectives they are fulfilling. The story should be short enough and simple enough in order to communicate the important and the analyst needs to display beautiful visualizations that will help in the purpose.
Many times analysts have to change their audience’s minds about how they perceive data and analytics insights. They need to adjust their story to their diverse, many times skeptical or ignorant audience; they need to be bold, self-confident and convincing; they must keep their positive attitude and show passion.
After the successful story is told, they go all over again into a new analysis project, taking all the knowledge and experience with them, as well as the pain from all the new and unknown.