Research, analytics, data, data and more data. In the world of marketing, we are bombarded with information, and the need for even more keeps growing. To many, all of this information can be too massive and unwieldy. Mention the need to gather and process all of this information and some people look like the proverbial deer-in-headlight.

The first way to reduce this literal information overload is to gather and curate data that your business actually needs. I can’t tell you the number of occasions I am asked to add questions to a project because it “might possibly be nice to know that.” My general response is NO! When asking survey questions—whether online, in a designed app, in a telephone survey or even during customer intercepts—brevity is important. Ask only questions that uncover the truths you want and need to know in relation to the goals and objectives of the project or task.

And that is true as you look at all data available to you. Pull what is relevant, study it, uncover the learnings and understand what action is necessary from what you have learned.

The next step you can take earlier on in the research process to reduce the overload is to always start by knowing what you want to learn or what hypothesis you need to test. Truly define your goals. Those goals serve as your touchstone in all things relative to the project. And there are so many touchpoints that collect individual information is downright scary!

Finally, if you have access to a market researcher or data analytics professional, I suggest you engage their services to guide you. It’s an investment that can pay dividends to business performance short-term and mid-term.

When Sir Francis Bacon stated in 1597, “Knowledge is power,” I’m pretty sure he had no idea of the vast information that would be at our beck and call in 2020, but he did recognize that we are better off absorbing information to make better decisions—personally and professionally.

Information is there for you. Just take the time and move slowly if necessary, but lean into information utilization and be careful not to swallow the entire cake—small but deliberate bites will do.