Data Storytelling: How to Act on Analytics

/ Thoughtspace - Advanced Measurement

Turning data into stories transforms brands. Take an inside look at how Coegi takes data from our custom dashboards and crafts a story with actionable recommendations for our clients by finding the human element in the numbers.

As marketers, we now have access to vast amounts of data. There’s been a major influx of analyst jobs in the last several years as a result.  But are we telling compelling stories with that data and adjusting our strategies based on the insights? If not, what’s the point? The true value in data lies in how we use key insights to take informed actions for businesses. In other words, with data storytelling.

Here are four steps you can use to set up that process within your organization.

Gather: Set up a measurement framework to capture metrics that matter most

First, set performance KPIs that ladder up to your business goals. For more information on how to do this, feel free to reference our Marketing Measurement Playbook. Then, prepare a learning agenda to determine the types of information you are looking to understand from your campaign.

Are there hypotheses you want to validate? Assumptions you want to challenge? Audience learnings you want to gather? Use the agenda to help answer these questions.

Learn: Capture and visualize data to pull key insights

Once the campaign is running, you begin to gather data: this is your “what.” Now, it’s up to you and your media partners to uncover the “why.” Look at the underlying narrative running through your data to build a meaningful story arc.

A great way to do this is by visualizing the data in a way. This method of data storytelling allows you to easily identify trends and understand performance relative to goals. Consider layering campaign data with third party data to see a holistic picture and identify outliers or interesting correlations. Look at the data from a macro lens. This helps weave the micro data points into a cohesive story makes sense to both marketers and external team members like the sales team or the executive suite.

We often talk about blending art and science in our marketing strategies – that same concept applies to data analytics. When communicating results to internal stakeholders, qualitative information with direction from quantitative data often speaks volumes for executives. But only if you tell the right story. You want to layer in context, feeling and understanding – the human emotion and behavior will amplify the data you’ve collected. Knowing the audience and tailoring your story to their point of view will help ensure the information resonates.

Brent Dykes, author of ‘Effective Data Storytelling’, says “Your data may hold tremendous amounts of potential value, but not an ounce of value can be created unless insights are uncovered and translated into actions or business outcomes”. This leads us into the next step: application.

"Your data may hold tremendous amounts of potential value, but not an ounce of value can be created unless insights are uncovered and translated into actions or business outcomes"

Apply: Transform insights into actionable strategies, and repeat. 

Data storytelling provides an opportunity to connect the dots between various media spend across channels and show how they work together to reach your customer when and where it mattered. If done right, it will also show areas that didn’t succeed. Those failures can guide new messaging or creative on particular channels, or the adjustment of certain tactics and spend reallocation. Additionally, it should highlight any gaps between customer touch points and eventual conversion or retention. Lay out clear, actionable steps based on analytic insights to transform your digital marketing strategy.

Refine and Repeat

Marketers create an infinite cycle of improvement through this data feedback loop. The digital ecosystem is constantly in flux. New platforms, privacy laws, consumer behavior and more, creating twists and turns in the media landscape. This process is never perfect. But, by using performance marketing data to tell your brand story, you can ensure it is always evolving and being refined. This practice minimizes media waste and allows marketers to make more informed decisions and craft winning strategies.

“Numbers have an important story to tell. They rely on you to give them a clear and convincing voice.” – Stephen Few

If you need help finding the story in your data, Coegi is here to help. Set up a discovery call with our team to explore opportunities for your brand.

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