Why “I don’t have any data” is a cop out

An all too common phrase heard across almost every business and industry is “we don’t have any data to analyse”. This couldn’t be further from the truth; I can assure you that almost every business does have data to analyse. You don’t need to be a Google-scale operation – you just need to broaden your horizons on what useful data is. Once you’re done reading through this post, you might find it hard to stop thinking about all the various places you’re generating and collecting useful data already! 

Let’s take a quick step back and lay the foundations first. We want to use analytics to give us actionable insights: “If your goal is X, you should do Y to achieve it”. To get to this (incredibly powerful) state, you’ll first need to have three key pillars firmly in place: 

  • Data strategy: Why are you doing this initiative? How can you use data and its insights to inform, support and execute your business strategy? 
  • Data management: Where and how are you storing the data, validating it, securing it, and making it easily available for quick and useful analysis? 
  • Data analysis: Given the right data in the right format, what actionable insights can be extracted? 

So, when a business says, “we don’t have any data to analyse”, it’s actually often attributable to focusing too much on the analysis instead of the strategy and management. One of the key steps in developing the latter two is to broaden your horizons and truly understand the breadth and depth of data you’re already collecting (alongside future data collection initiatives, when they align with your business strategy). 

Now with those foundations laid, let’s run through some useful datasets that almost every business will be generating and what you can learn from them. 

Financial and customer data 

For most businesses, this is probably going to be the most reliably collected data available. After all, it’s mission-critical; without the data on who owes you money, your business is in a lot of trouble! 

The data you generate managing your accounting and commercials can help form actionable insights like: 

  • Data on who are you spending the most money with → Use this to determine where cost optimisation efforts could be placed 
  • Data on who is spending the most money with you → Use this to determine where account management efforts could be placed 
  • Data on how often and how much your customers are spending → Use this to determine if your clientele is aligned with your strategic goals, or if you need to source a new client base 
  • Data on how customer spend behaviour has changed over time → Use this to see if newer customers are more or less profitable than older ones (and determine if you’re acquiring customers from the right source) 
  • Data on how often a specific customer is usually buying from you → If they’ve missed their timeframe, you could use this opportunity to re-engage with them to win them back (bonus points if you can set up marketing automation to complement this at scale) 
  • Data on what products and services are usually bought together → Use this to understand what bundling options to approach the market with, or perhaps gauge untapped bundles that you should be upselling 

Business sentiment 

Once you get a few customers through the door, it’s likely your customers will start talking about you either directly via feedback, or indirectly via reviews or general online discussions. 

Some actionable insights that can be extracted from this data include: 

  • Data on the sentiment of the feedback / online discussions → Use this to understand if your customer engagement and experience is actually in line with your strategic goals 
  • Data on which parts of your business are associated with positive/negative feedback → Use this to find any focus areas where you need to improve your customer engagement 
  • Data on “black spots” where customers using a specific part of your business aren’t engaging → Use this to analyse and better service customers using this product 

Marketing data 

If you’ve taken the leap and started actively marketing your business (if not, we’d be happy to chat), then you’re certainly generating valuable data that can steer your marketing efforts towards long-term success. 

Most digital marketing campaigns will collect: 

  • Data on how often your customers are being contacted (i.e. your marketing schedule) → Use this to understand the optimal frequency to contact customers (once or twice per week, or once a month) 
  • Data on when customers engage with your content → If you’re a B2B business then you may be better off sending your marketing emails during the working day, while B2C may suit after-hours emails – but this isn’t a hard and fast rule! Your engagement data – like open and click-through rates – can tell you what’s working for your specific customer base already 
  • Data on the content that resonates with each segment (a good base-level approach) and each person (a more advanced analytical approach) → Use this to send the relevant types of content to each segment/person to maximise their conversion to your product and overarching marketing goals 


Hopefully, I’ve been able to demonstrate that the saying “we don’t have any data to analyse” usually couldn’t be further from the truth. Once you broaden your horizons on what useful data can be, you’ll find most businesses sit on a wealth of data. It often just needs a little attention – via the development of a sound data strategy and data management practices – before powerful actionable insights can be extracted. 

I’d encourage setting aside some time to reflect on the above and, equally, contemplate what data your business generates by virtue of being the unique business that it is – it’s a competitive necessity in an increasingly data-driven world!

Contact us today for more information on how we can work together to create data-driven, actionable insights to help your business succeed.

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