4 min read
15 Oct


People ask, ‘what do you do?’ a lot. I usually reply ‘analyst’ to a data professional or ‘marketing effectiveness consultant’ to an agency. Jargon is OK but if you run a business with no data team/marketing department that may be as clear as mud.

This is what you can do by working with someone like me:

Make data-driven marketing decisions that you can count on

That leaves me a straightforward sentence to explain:



“Facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis.”

There are different kinds of data and a gamut of analysis specialisms. Appreciating the type of business data that you have helps you track down the right help. Or develop the right strategies if you are tackling in-house.

The following splits are useful as a starter for ten: 

This refers to how close the data you are looking at is compared to when it was collected. A journalist’s shorthand is primary, but a published article is secondary. Your business data is primary but info on competitors sourced online is secondary. Primary data is raw, unmanipulated. Ignore any adjustments made to secondary at your peril.

Qualitative data describes. Colours, countries etc. There is no objective way to order as better/worse, more/less. It can provide rich detail and nuanced information that simply counting stuff masks. Quantitative data counts and measures. Think weights, rankings, percentages etc. There is a universally understood 'order'. 1 is less than 2.

Discrete data is counted. Children - only 1, 2, 3 etc. The (UK TV) classic "2.4 children" refers to a population average. A single parental unit cannot have 2.4. Continuous data is measured on a scale. I am towards the shorter end of the height range for UK adults (5' 2"), but my brother is 12 inches taller. We could arrange family members in between.



Data has no intrinsic value. It is what professionals can do, or train you to do, with it that unlocks potential commercial value. And the ‘right thing’ depends on -

  • the types of data in your business
  • your unanswered business questions
  • unsubstantiated beliefs that guide decisions

Data powers but it is not self-driving, there must be at least one alert human at the wheel, preferably more – as the UK government spectacularly demonstrated recently with the missing Test and Trace cases fiasco.

Data-assisted is probably better but it lacks pleasing alliteration. The point is that as a business you already make a ton of decisions using processes that are just fine. Bringing data into those is meant to enhance not replace those.


Marketing decisions

Businesses make decisions all the time whether they use data or not and so it is helpful to signpost in which space I mostly work. Distinct functions like this are most often found in very large firms, so it is not perfect, but it is succinct.

Marketing is an umbrella term for how you communicate messages about your brand and the products/services you offer to prospects and customers. 

Marketing decisions are endless. How much to spend? On what activities? What is the payback? When and where can spend be cut? Why did this campaign fly/bomb? …

That you can count on

Trust is incredibly important because it is impossible to work effectively with any data consultant without sharing some of your most sensitive information with them. That is true whether they are undertaking analysis directly or training your team to.

There is a huge choice. Some approaches that give you a directional feel right through to statistical models from which you can infer and predict. A consultant can help you to select the right approach for the sorts of decisions that you need to make.

That deals with the outcomes but gives little away in terms of how that is done or if that style will suit you and your business:

Research, analysis and modelling for pragmatic change-makers


What do those first three words really mean?

Research. Sourcing, collating and interpreting information already out there whether that be case studies or statistics. Designing and conducting primary research is outside of my lane but I have a working knowledge and specialists in my network.

Analysis. There are loads of approaches. But what they all have in common is looking at data in a structured and systematic way, to be able to understand and use the information it conveys. Slicing and dicing, turning it around to shake its secrets loose.

Modelling. Ditto loads of types. All models simplify the real world enough for them to be useful in making decisions. With data used to represent what is happening. Some are conceptual, some statistical. Used to understand drivers, test hunches, and predict.

See some examples here.

Pragmatic. Real businesses have budgets, deadlines, and commercial constraints. Starting simply is better than nothing and it can be built on. A pragmatic consultant explains things in your terms and blends pureness of theory with taking useful action.

Change-makers. For those who need the evidence, or the confidence or want to shake-up the status quo. Doing work that just gets lost in the inbox archive is a waste of money for a business and not what consultants passionate about their field want to do.   


Make data-driven decisions that you can count on
Research, analysis and modelling for pragmatic change makers

There are a few pieces of the jigsaw missing to understand the pathway from data to recommendations and that is what I will cover next. If you would like to receive a note when I publish a new blog, pop an email address here.

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