Read the news but always keep an open mind | Dr Jouko Huju, DBA, GMBA Finland

The proper use of information made available by media and various organizations depends on the ability to understand the information needs, where to find and retrieve it and the proper evaluation of the quality of the accessed information.

Media and other information providers play a central role in knowledge gathering processes of the companies also in the marine and boating industries. They are a way of communicating information, although the role is somewhat broader than just that. The media, especially trade media, are defined, in most cases anyway, as sources of credible and current information created by journalistic and accountable values. On the other hand, the extremely wide and diverse selection of information and content, especially on the Internet, varies greatly in accuracy, reliability, and thus in value too.

In my view it is of utmost importance though, that you will not take the retrieved data at face value. All data is subject to misinterpretations. To begin with you need to ask yourself, why the data was required in the first place?

Let’s talk about why data is important for the boating industry too.

  1. Data=knowledge

Correctly retrieved and interpreted data provides usually indisputable facts. Data will help you justify your arguments.

  1. Results

You will need the data to follow and carry out your company’s strategy.

  1. Solutions

Possessing the correct data will enable you to more easily assess the cause of problems.

  1. Internal advocacy

Illustrating arguments through the use of data will allow you to demonstrate why changes are needed

  1. Efficiency

Effective data collection and analysis will allow you to direct resources.

  1. Know where you are

Good data allows you to establish benchmarks and goals because it allows you to measure.

To sum up for what purposes the data is needed:

  • Finding new customers
  • Increasing customer retention
  • Improving customer service
  • Better management of marketing efforts
  • Tracking social media interaction
  • Predicting salestrends

GMBA Australia’s MaryAnne Edwards says: “The boating industry is bombarded with information from a huge number of sources. There are many on-line newsletters that simply regurgitate press releases and in some very little journalistic work to verify facts is undertaken.  However, these newsletters do provide information as a basis for further research if it triggers an interest for a particular business. There are also industry surveys produced by various sources that are often skewed as businesses do not want or do not have time to be completing questionnaires, providing financial or sales data for these surveys.  I would always caution companies to take the information they read and then take steps to verify it if they are using it for business decision making.”

Countries often have in market reports on their government websites and generally these are not too bad as governments often have access to data media do not.

The big question is how people in the industry filter all this information and decide what is valuable and based on actual facts.  Also, do businesses have a good understanding of what information they even need to drive their business successfully.

So, in my view, when you read the news, think where it came from, who wrote it, could the writer really have had access to the data and has he/she interpreted it correctly.

I would say that in general the trade press in the boating industry is very reliable and the writers make sure to double-check the information. They then form, with their archives, an important and wide based source of information for strategic planning of the marine industry.

I would still urge everyone to have an open mind and not take anything for granted.

Dr Jouko Huju DBA, GMBA-Finland
+358 40 5509310

Disclaimer: Global Marine Business Advisors and its associated website are not registered legal entities. GMBA is a network of independent marine industry advisors. In all articles the opinions expressed are those of the author and does not necessarily reflect those of GMBA