Demystifying Data

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

data

 

Like most of you, my family and many of my friends have no idea what I do… they know it has something to do with “the internets”, but that’s where their understanding stops.

You lost me at “DATA”…

 

There’s something about the word “data” and thought of “databases” that instantly makes people feel like they are circus seals slapping their keyboards.

 

Data Is Much Simpler Than You Think

 

I’m here to testify: Data is much simpler than you think it is.

It’s just organized text.

Think of a database as a spreadsheet and the data as the words and numbers in that spreadsheet. Each little cell on the spreadsheet is a “field”.

 

Organized

 

Let’s look at an example. The data that we work with here is text that spells out deals: 10% off at Macy’s, Free shipping at Home Depot, etc.

Instead of listing them all out as one sentence after the next, we break down all of the details into a database – a giant spreadsheet. Our spreadsheet has row after row of deals. The details for each deal are organized into columns like:

  • Deal type – is it a coupon, a daily deal, a mobile only offer, etc?
  • Store – who is offering the deal?
  • Category – is it apparel, office supplies, a toy, etc?

 

coupon-data-spreadsheet

(Do you see that? It’s data… in a database…! Not so scary now – is it?!)

 

Complete

 

Since we’re essentially filling in the blanks for each deal, we’re able to verify that we have all of the data. Missing fields = missing data.

 

Sortable

 

It’s hard to sort sentences. But, you can easily sort a spreadsheet. Choose the column – like Merchant – to see all of the deals available at one store.

Want to see the deals that are expiring tomorrow? Sort by end date.

 

Manageable

 

Turning a big concept like “deals” into data makes it manageable. Our clients can use the data to build pages on their sites and deliver timely promotion details to their visitors.

 

Recognizing Data Around You

 

We truly live in a data-driven world. The page you’re looking at right now is from a database… the fields are things like Title, Tags and Body, all organized in a database and sorted and displayed here by WordPress.

Really, everything you do online is feeding to or from a database.

Even things you do offline are database driven… have you scanned through the cable guide on your TV? Database. Does your car have a GPS? Database.

 

Let Data Empower You

 

Learning to break down concepts, details and information into data can help you build your business.

Want to build a deal site? What are the fields of data you’ll need for each deal?

Want to start an online store? What are the fields of data you’ll need on each product?

Want to improve your customer relations? Decide what you need to know about each customer and how can you standardize that into fields of data that you can collect and act on.

 

Data is your friend… if you let it be!