What to Do With All That Data?
In the world of modern marketing, data is the new currency. Marketing analysts are in the weeds daily, gathering vast amounts of data from multiple sources, including customer interactions, website analytics, social media platforms, and more.
While this data holds immense potential, it also presents a unique challenge—what the heck should you do with all of it?
If you’re a marketing director, your role extends far beyond data collection; you’re responsible for transforming raw data into actionable insights that drive business growth. Moreover, you need to convey these insights effectively to the leaders and decision-makers above you, ensuring that your strategies align with the broader organizational goals.
Bottom line? It’s a juggling act. And it’s essential for you to determine how exactly you’ll use and present this data depending on who you’re talking to.
Because let’s be honest—few business leaders want to drown in a sea of numbers and statistics (and that’s okay!). So here’s how you can turn that data dilemma into an advantage for your organization.
I think one of the things that's changed over time is my messaging. Many years ago, I probably would have just barged in, blurted it out, and hoped for the best. One of the things I've worked on in leadership in the last 4 years is communication. How to message things, how to understand what it is. A good friend of mine, Amber, says, “What do you want them to know? What do you want them to think? And how do you want them to feel?” And when you think about that, when you're messaging bad news or change, you can find yourself thinking about it a little bit differently.
Remember Who You're Talking To
When you’re in the business of presenting data, it’s a bit like being a DJ at a music festival. Similar to how a DJ knows that the crowd’s taste varies depending on the set, you, too, must recognize that leaders at different organizational levels have their own groove regarding data.
The CEO might want the headline chart-toppers, the VPs crave the deep cuts that uncover potential growth, and the middle management team seeks the rhythm that aligns with their department's goals. So, as you present your data, make sure to adjust your playlist.
Being in a leadership position means thinking about how you speak to people based on their responsibilities and where they fall on the food chain. Then, framing your conversations accordingly.
Determine What's Most Important
Not sure what to do with all that data? Ask yourself these questions:
- What's the most important thing for my business?
- What sources are most important for me to look at regarding my goals (i.e., website pages, maid media, etc.), and what data can I pull from them?
- What data can I tie together to fully understand my lead generation performance?
If it’s all about generating revenue, you need to find the data that speaks to this goal. If it’s all about sign-ups for a new lead generator, focus your efforts there.
Yes, when you’re at an all-you-can-eat buffet with a spread a mile long, it’s tempting to pile your plate high. But sooner or later, you realize your stomach can only handle so much.
It’s the same with your data—leaders are hungry for insights, not an information overload that leaves them more confused than when they first walked in.
Moral of the story? Leave out the data equivalent of the Brussels sprouts*—the stuff that’s just there to fill space. Because it’s not about how much data you can serve but serving up the right data.
*Apologies to my Brussels sprouts lovers. Nobody would believe me if I said the pasta was simply there to fill space.
Take It Easy on the Technical
Those at the top of an organization have to-do lists that never end. So they don’t have the time (or often, the patience) to sit through a presentation packed with your data’s nitty-gritty.
That’s why it’s vital not to get too technical when combing through all those statistics. Spice things up with compelling narratives and engaging visuals. You might not be creating the next Hollywood blockbuster here, but when it comes to data, consider how to make things more interesting for your audience.
My best tip here? Focus on who your decision-makers are and speak directly to them. Condense those data points into a narrative that aligns with your business goals. Keep it high-level, and don’t get lost in the weeds.
A Picture's Worth A Thousand Words
In the age of data overload, presenting a sea of numbers to your audience is like handing them a dictionary and asking them to write a novel. Sure, it contains all the words you need, but it lacks the magic of a well-crafted story.
That's where pictures, graphs, and diagrams come in. These elements bring your data to life, helping you tell a compelling story rather than sharing number after number.
I love a good spreadsheet, so it pains me to admit this, but most business leaders don’t actually want to see yours. Instead, present them with imagery that helps them understand what’s working and what’s not.
Tell Your Unique Story
Your data should build a story. Whether it’s a new opportunity, a smashing success, or finding ways to stand out from the competition, your data isn’t a rearview mirror—instead, it’s a compass that should guide your business forward.
So, when you’re wondering what to do with it, don’t dwell on it. Use your data to look forward. It’s not about what happened last week but how you can use this information to move into the coming week. Data = potential.
The numbers are great. But if we fail to understand what they mean for our future, they’ll fall flat.
Partner With the Right Agency
The right digital marketing agency can help you deliver your data based on the needs and preferences of your organization. Rather than using copy-and-paste spreadsheets, they should treat your business like an extension of their own—getting to know who you are and what you’re looking for.
Because it's not just about gathering data; it's about transforming it into actionable insights that captivate the minds of your leaders. A top-tier marketing agency isn't just a collaborator; they're your data orchestra conductor, harmonizing the cacophony of numbers into a symphony of strategic decisions.
I’ll leave you with this: If you ask the right questions, you’ll get the right data. Dig a little deeper, understand your audience, and use your data as a tool to move into the future.
And if you're looking for an agency that will help you use data to your advantage (rather than put you to sleep), get in touch with us today!
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As CEO/Co-Founder of BFO, Steve excels in ‘unleadership.’ (his word) Steve believes in collaboration and leading by example; remaining vulnerable and open to new ideas, accepting feedback…and doing good things.
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