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… I heard an analytics programming hack who could barely communicate claim that his specialty was data storytelling. I nearly spit out my club soda.
The concept of data storytelling is a fine example of the language gap between executives and the analytics community. Many analytics professionals equate “data storytelling” with data visualization. In other words, graphs. When an executive asks for “the story,” that means a brief explanation, in words, perhaps with pictures."

Meta S. Brown, Forbes Magazine

Reviewing your business analytics once a quarter with your marketing team to review how your PPC ads performed is really just the tip of the iceberg. There is a missing link between business executives, the creative team, and the analytics team.

I had a first-hand experience recently at a business conference workshop for non-profits. The speaker was stating multiple points on the importance of using data analytics, as part of the decision making process. Looking around the room, most of the attendees were in their 50’s – 60’s, with a sprinkle of millennials. The mature audience was interested in what he was saying and we ended up talking in small groups. In our group, we had an under 40 analyst, who was very skilled at talking-up her knowledge of data analytics, attempting to combine this with the trending keyword “storytelling.” The executive sitting next to me was not impressed. I recognized that the analysts attempt to dazzle our group with her brilliance (or baffle them with bull), was ineffective at best.  If that were a sales pitch, she was more interested in hearing her self talk rather than listening to what the group level of knowledge was, furthermore completely missed the boat at understanding who else she was sitting with.

Personally, I really respect the analysts on our team. They make our jobs easier overall. I compare us to the TV show CSI—it’s all about very cool geeks trained in forensics teamed up with investigators that understand human behavior and specialize in crime opposition. These types are a perfect match for storytelling. 

My point is, cultural society has changed so much and continues to constantly do so that we’re all communicating digitally. So the question is: how can you not pay attention to your business analytics? 

I had one client who we were working with for a little over a year, and she brought to my attention that her analytics flatlined right before we went live with a new site. The client rightly so asked what did we do? We hadn’t done anything. In fact, nothing had been done for a long time even before we came on board. As our analysts determined that the old site had not been updated in over two years and was hacked. They never knew it and luckily the new site went live before any real damage was done. 

 If you don’t have the time to look at your analytics on a weekly basis, then hire someone. That person or company should have proven skills at problem solving, excellent data skills, combined with outstanding communication abilities. Look for people who listen and ask probing questions. Your team must understand the problems before they can help to solve them.

Also, consider providing training for existing staff, but do yourself a favor and keep realistic goals.  

Our team will be offering webinars in 2019 on topics I’ve mentioned.  Please sign up for our newsletter if you or your staff are interested in learning more. If your analytics have you up-side-down, we can help.  Fill out our form below, and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

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