By Leigh Andrews
Andrew Fulton of Eighty20
, a company that provides businesses with strategic and actionable insights from data, started his presentation by stating that data is often overwhelmed and undermined, meaning that much of it is just taken at face value and not used in interesting ways to impart new information. He hoped that some of the information he shared would lead to a ‘Whitney Houston is dead moment’ for attendees, alluding to the feeling we get when sharing a new fact with someone who has not heard it yet. He added that AMPS data offers many non-media implications in terms of the sample it is taken from, and that data can be made more appealing or ‘fun’ to people who don't like figures by presenting the information in new ways and “making the data beautiful”, using images and animated infographics and going beyond the typical scatter plot to group demographics in interesting new ways.
He also stated that, "You want to break the data groups into the smallest regions possible to make it accurate and specific”. With any data, it’s advisable to use more than one data set from a similar sample to make sure that one set of results is not skewed and the data is comparable, as “people tend to lie about income, debt, sex and disease," so you need to keep in mind that there’s an element of inaccuracy in any sample findings.
That said, Fulton pointed out that AMPS data shows around 60% of South Africans across all LSM groups are banked (citizens who make use of banking services), and in comparing 2003 AMPS data to that from 2010, Eighty20’s reports show that while car and taxi use has increased, train and buses have dropped. Another interesting way to use the data from AMPS is to "find out about people who don’t use your product and why they don’t by using an access frontier chart." These are becoming popular in consumer magazines as flow charts that start with a particular question, narrowing the answers down to a number of possible ‘results’ or answers.
Marketers tend to duplicate SAARF’s efforts by conducting focus groups and forgetting that so much data is available to them from the AMPS releases, which are based on huge, unweighted samples across the country, particularly if they are looking at segmentation or product usage. But some insights are also meaningless to your customer or audience, who have specific requirements – you therefore need to know exactly what type of data would be best analysed, and which ways will show this the best.
In closing, Fulton spoke of the difference a decade makes by showing that there is roughly 21% growth in cell phone usage each year. He also said that using the exponential growth method based on South Africa's LSM growth in the past decade, we can project that LSM 1 and 2 may well disappear by 2015. He highlighted the importance of really breaking down demographics and psychographics beyond ‘people’ when looking at habits by stating, “Shift your assumption - not everyone on the internet is white and wealthy."
All in all, a most insightful presentation. For more information, visit SAARF on www.saarf.co.za