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Analyzing Data to Find Insights

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

What are you looking for?

Insights are about answering the why and not the what. By now, you will have a lot of ‘what’ gathered. The ‘why’ is found through human analysis. You will need to pull all of the components of your research together to find the common threads, overlaps, and trends within your data. There are some processes you can use to help you do this.

Creating a SWOT analysis

The first process you can use is a SWOT analysis.

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Though many SWOT analyses are created by looking at your competition, this one is more centered on your audience.

  • Where do your assets and values overlap with your audience? Where can you find strong, common ground? What is it that will make you a clear choice?
  • Are there any audience perceptions that could hurt you in their eyes? Where are your values, offerings, products, and services incongruent with your audience needs and wants?
  • If this is an audience that is untapped, there could be an opportunity that you didn’t recognize at first. Or, if you’re established, maybe there’s a new angle to reignite an old conversation.
  • What are the cultural threats, emerging attitudes, industry threats, emerging technologies?


According to thought leader and Harvard Business writer Nilofer Merchant, the way we create value has changed. It’s not enough to offer a unique angle or just to be differentiated. In the social era, where everyone can be a publisher and choice is endless, ‘onlyness’ is that thing that will make you stand out. Your onlyness refers to that unique point of view and experience that only you can bring to the table. It’s your experience, your knowledge, your history, your vision, your passion, and everything else that makes you uniquely you.

As a digital marketer, you know your product, service, company, history, and so on, inside out. At the end of the day, what you offer your audience can only come from you.

Finding your sweet spot

  • Once you find your onlyness or your unique point of view or offering, draw a circle and name it.
  • Then, draw a second circle that overlaps yours realistically. This is where your onlyness and point of view meets your audience’s interests and needs.
  • The third circle that you draw is where you remove part of that overlap.
  • What is left over? That’s your sweet spot, the place where your goals and your onlyness and your passion overlap with your audience’s needs and wants and passions, but where there is no major competition.

Turning data into insights

Now, taking all of your data together, see if patterns are emerging in specific areas. Then, look for strong relationships between the data points, such as connections between tribes, connections between competitors and tribes, and connections between the data points themselves. Also look for surprising anomalies in the data, things that you didn’t expect to happen or seem a little out of place.

Even the best research doesn’t always tell the whole story. Sometimes there is a story between the threads, so try to read between the lines. Finally, you should ask the five whys of data.

The Five Whys

The five whys refer to the number of questions that you have to ask of your initial insights to get to the nugget of the insight that will drive your strategy. The first statement you make will probably not be in-depth enough to lead to an actionable insight, so you have to ask why several times to uncover the deep insight. Five times is recommended, hence the five whys.

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Tara Hunt

Tara Hunt is an executive-level digital marketing professional with over 20 years of experience. She is the founder of Truly Inc., the author of one of the first books on how the social web is changing business, and a professional public speaker. Tara has created and executed proven digital and social strategies across multiple industries. She specializes in relationship and inbound marketing, with a passion for data-driven strategy.

Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

DMI Short Course: GDPR

The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful.

You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library

You will not be assessed on this content in your final exam.


    Social Research
    Tara Hunt
    Skills Expert

    The Social Research module introduces key social media concepts, including the Digital Marketing Institute’s 3i Principles for successful digital marketing, and the role and responsibilities of the social media marketer. It then dives into the topic of social research and explains its importance to digital marketers. It equips marketers with the research tools and techniques needed to engage in effective audience research, competitive and industry research, and cultural research. It also explains how marketers can gain valuable insights from their research data.