Asking the right questions to the right sources

January 4, 2013

We already talked about how important is asking the right questions before sitting in front of a particular data source. It makes easier your work since you only need to fill the blanks with information instead of sitting in front of a data source for one, two or three hours looking for “something interesting or useful”.

Type of Analytics information

Understanding what questions can answer each data source, it is as important as the question itself. As we talked about five years ago in the Analytics 2.0 model, you have several information sources, each one measure a particular type of interaction between users and the marketing pieces of companies or people.  However we shouldn’t care about the information source but the information itself, we need the information that answer our questions no matter if that information comes from one, two or 1000 sources. No matter if it comes from a Web Analytics, a CRM, and ERP, or any other information platform. What it is important is what type of information can any of those platforms provide you.

Behavior: Behavioral information can only answer you the “What?”. Remember this because it is very important. Whenever you are in front of a behavioral source of information, don’t you ever ask another question than “What?”. What kind of information sources are behavioral sources? Web Analytics Tools, Adservers, eMail Marketing Tools, among others.

If you are using some of the above mentioned information tools directly or indirectly (into a dashboard with other information sources) you must remember to ask them questions with what.


Attitudinal: This kind of information answers the “Why?” just that. Attitudinal information is normally captured through surveys and tells you about the attitude of a particular person or group of people about something, a brand,  products, etc.


When you ask questions to an incorrect source of information you are forcing inferences. Inference is filling the lack of information with bullshit with the strong mistaking certainty that you really have the information. The result is worst than having no information. When you don’t have information you make decisions understanding how risky it is, but when you think you have certain information you make decisions not thinking about the risk even when you are in a real risky situation.

So before begin with your analysis ask yourself, what kind of information can I get from this source? Is this Behavioral or Attitudinal?