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Making sense of data during a crisis: Our curated list of resources

Making sense of data during a crisis: Our curated list of resources

Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Lynn Duffy

COVID-19 continues to remind us that change is the only constant in life. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information as you try to make data-driven decisions in a crisis, we’re here to help—starting with this curated list of data resources as you seek to get ahead of the latest trends.

We’ve grouped these resource hubs by type, combining a diverse mix of free and paid resources. As with everything pandemic-related, this information continues to change daily and sometimes even hourly. If any of our recommended tools and platforms change significantly, we’ll let you know!

Resources for consumer behavior trends

  • Global Web Index (or GWI) exists to provide consumer insights at the deepest level in the most accessible way. Their research into COVID-19 seeks to report on the very real impact that coronavirus is having on consumer behaviors, attitudes, and perceptions across countries (as did we recently). This dedicated research is available for free.
  • comScore, founded in 1999, is widely viewed as a trusted third-party data partner for media measurement and evaluating media across platforms. Their COVID-19 coverage seeks to provide insight into shifting consumption trends and the resulting impact on the advertising and media industries.

Market data by vertical/sector

  • eMarketer has been around since 1996 and prides itself on being a source of independent analysis based on vetted and transparently sourced data. Their primary mission is reporting on digital transformation. Here you can find consumer trends as well as data by geography and by sector.
  • Nielsen is a global information, data, and measurement company. As one of the oldest media measurement companies (founded in 1923), they are currently tracking consumer purchase behavior as it drastically changes due to the pandemic. Their coverage on COVID-19 offers perspective and research on FMCG (fast moving consumer goods), retail, and media as well as key consumer behavior thresholds, amongst other things.
  • Attentive is a personalized mobile messaging platform that is tracking data across their platform by vertical. They are sharing their COVID-19 analytic insights from the 1,000+ leading brands they work with.

Macro data: economics and world impact

  • Statista is an online portal for statistics founded in 2007. Their work aggregates data collected by market and opinion research institutes as well as data derived from economic sectors. Data of this type can help us better understand the countries affected and potential economic impacts as they develop,  as well as some high-level consumer lifestyles and attitudinal data.
  • NetBase is a social media analytics platform that tracks social conversations across the globe. Their COVID-19 coverage offers a live pulse that is currently tracking social conversations around the world as they relate to coronavirus.

General business and employee experience

  • Forrester is a market research and information technology company that was founded in 1983 in order to provide advice on existing and potential impacts of technology to their clients and the public. Their COVID-19 dashboard offers the latest insights and guidance for leaders to address the growing business and employee experience implications of the pandemic. Forrester also offers perspectives by industry/vertical as well as research on customer experience/insights and digital transformation.
  • Gartner was founded in 1976 and also plays in the research and advisory space for brands and agencies, providing insight to businesses and advice on how to keep advancing their organizations forward to meet the demands of the future. Their COVID-19 coverage provides tools for businesses looking to lead their organization from initial response to recovery, offering tips for organizational support of a disrupted workforce to crisis planning and adapting your marketing and analytics strategies.

Introducing the A-list

Even with this curated list of resources, data fatigue remains a distinct possibility. For that reason, we’ve created a basic framework to help you more effectively access, interpret, and use the torrent of data at your digital fingertips. This is your handy A-list guide to leveraging data during a crisis.

  1. First up, let’s Assemble

    Okay, so we’ve already taken a step here through the resources above. This can be perceived to be both the easiest step (i.e. there’s data everywhere you look these days) and hardest step because, well… there’s data everywhere you look these days! Our curated list gives you a head start with a broad range of focused resources when looking for anything from social conversation to industry or vertical trends to even macroeconomics.

  2. Next, we Assess

    Assessing the inputs you’ve gathered requires some back-to-basics techniques, including, very simply, “Is this making sense?” Our gut instinct when reading through the barrage of reports can help us understand when to abandon a particular avenue or engage in further research. As humans and consumers in our own right, we know what feels “right” or, in this instance, “correct”. We should trust these feelings.

    Researcher comparing reports at his desk

    Is something nagging at us as we read through the research or sit through webinars presenting this data? Pay attention to that and dig in more. You’ll likely quickly find that you can trust or dismiss the data based on these feelings.

    Part of this assessment means there are also times when you’ll have to think about expanding your normal framework of reference for thinking about consumers in this new normal. You may have new target groups emerging to think about as consumers lives have been wholly interrupted and there are changed social dynamics with people sheltering in place. Look to your data and don’t dismiss these potentially changing trends that you are seeing.

  3. Now is the time to Act (…or not)

    Action can be passive or intentional—and it can be intentional to *not* act on something. At the end of the day, we work in an industry where simply getting back to the basics and executing on them well will help provide consumers with the help they seek as they are seeking it, as well as helping brands maintain balance and work in a customer-first mentality.

    Just as in real life, when tough times happen, you know who you can count on. Consumers will remember the brands that helped them through this: the businesses that didn’t focus exclusively on their bottom line but instead focused on the very real human impact this virus is having on our society at large.

  4. Finally, we aim to Anticipate

    What good is data without the insight into what it all means? Here, we advise that you take a step back. A big one. You’ve assembled the data, assessed it, acted (or not) on it, and now it’s time to put our combined mindshare to task to anticipate and think through all scenarios—good and bad. Don’t get caught up in the minutiae. Think towards the broad truths of the most likely future, specifically the ways in which you can prepare for the post-pandemic consumer in your specific market.

At the end of the day—pandemic or not—we know that it’s the brands that put people first that will be the winners when we come through this. And isn’t that the way it should always be? It all starts with a structured approach to truly understand what your data is telling you. We’re here to help.


Lynn Duffy
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