Making data more actionable

In recent years, organizations have sought out more sources of data so they can best optimize customer experience in a growingly complex, multi-platform digital world. However, many organizations are drastically underutilizing their data due to internal challenges that limit the efficacious use of these datasets. If a marketer is truly aiming to tell a great story with their data, there are three major steps they must look to take.

1. Organize Data Silos

Data silo-ing occurs when companies, deliberately or incidentally, make certain datasets available only to a small subset of teams or individuals: such moves may often be necessary, but a recent Harvard Business Review survey found that “the best-in-class companies—those with strong financial performance and competitive customer experiences—are more likely to have removed those silos than…other organizations.” As a common example of how data silo-ing may occur, marketers within a company may end up using one tool to examine data, while data analysts end up using a completely different tool. This may mean that the two teams are looking at completely different data, or they may face the subtler (but no less pernicious) problem of examining those data from two limited, non-holistic viewpoints.

2. Visualize Data Effectively

Data visualization tools allow analytics teams to take complicated datasets and synthesize their narrative into a few easily consumable major points. However, many data visualizations confuse instead of clarify a narrative. Good data visualizations should avoid obvious misinterpretations of data (they don’t manipulate scale or draw spurious comparisons) and have a clean, uncluttered aesthetic.

3. Share Data in Real Time

The proliferation of data has unlocked a world of potential for many organizations, but the sheer scope and scale of that data also presents new challenges. Namely, companies that are receiving new data every day often accidentally rely on old data sets that may not accurately encapsulate the challenges they are facing on that day. When companies build real-time data into their stories and their visualizations, they are then able to fully capture a customer’s journey and make better decisions to optimize and improve those journeys.

For nearly all marketers, even a slight improvement in data organization can greatly improve the experiences of their customers. By thoughtfully improving data streams from their back-end collection and organization to the ultimate synthesis and visualization of said datasets, marketers will be able to provide a better experience for all of their customers.