In this day and age, marketers need data. You need data to track performance, to identify new opportunities, to determine what’s working and what’s not so you know how to best allocate your efforts and to understand how changes in efforts impact key metrics — there’s just no getting around it.

But data on its own is useless. What you really need is analytics.

Data vs. Analytics: What’s the Difference?

Have you ever looked at raw data? It’s not pretty. And unless you’re a highly skilled data scientist, it’s not very useful either. That’s because in order to gain any value from data, you need to understand the story it’s telling and be able to glean insights and trends from it. Most importantly, you need to be able to put those insights into action.

When all those pieces come together, you can then become a truly data-driven marketer who makes well-informed decisions and acts very purposefully based on data-backed intelligence.

The key to reaching that state lies not necessarily in having access to data, but rather data-driven marketerhaving access to analytics about that data. So what’s the difference?

Data is the actual details you collect in their raw form, for example number of clicks and number of leads, whereas analytics sit on top of that data to help you understand how it all comes together, for example by surfacing trends within the data and overlaying different points to allow for analysis and comparison.

In other words, while data might reveal that you had 500 new prospects sign up for your newsletter one month, analytics will track that group over time to help you understand how those prospects are interacting with your newsletter and how well you’re retaining them. See the difference?

How Analytics Can Help You Become a Data-Driven Marketer

So how exactly is having access to analytics the key to becoming a data-driven marketer? Analytics make all the difference by allowing you to:

How to Unlock the Power of Analytics to Become a Data-Driven Marketer

Okay, we get it — analytics are beyond valuable. But how do you actually unlock the power of analytics and get all that data you’ve been collecting to work in your favor? It all starts with these four steps:

Start Marketing More Intelligently

When you have all those pieces of the data and analytics puzzle in place, there shouldn’t be anything else to do but start marketing more intelligently than ever. After all, once you’ve done the analytics legwork, everything you need to make more informed decisions, quickly answer questions about performance, identify new opportunities and take action should never be more than a click away. And ultimately, that type of analytics setup should afford you more time and more confidence to put winning marketing campaigns into action.