Today, every organization strives to be “data-driven.” Business leaders look for data to set strategic goals and inform tactical decisions while customers expect the ongoing (and often mind-boggling) collection of data to result in more customized experiences.
In a recent AMA webcast sponsored by Aquent, Data-Driven Design: Why Marketers Hold the Key to Success, Gregory Ng, Chief Marketing Officer at Brooks Bell lauded this trend. In his view, it’s great when companies recognize all the ways that data can help them produce better products, provide better service, and satisfy more customers.
The challenge is, he explained, that not everyone within the organization understands how to realize the full potential of data.
Enter the marketer, the right AND left-brained thinker who excels at merging creative and analytical thought processes and who is perfectly situated to serve as the catalyst when it comes to creating a data-driven organization. Ng strongly believes that marketers hold the key to data-driven success and that getting there is easier than one might think.
In his webcast, Ng highlighted and explained the following 10 actionable steps that will lead to better alignment between the creative and analytics teams within an organization and serve as a roadmap for building a data-driven culture:
- Democratize your data – The organization must provide accessibility to data and encourage its use. This means ensuring that everyone has access to the same data sets and knows what's available.
- Educate the team on data – Most people don’t know where to begin when it comes to using data and dealing with the sheer quantity of data now available can easily feel overwhelming. To mitigate these feelings create and explain ways to make the data more consumable.
- Establish smarter goals – Make sure the goals for data use make sense across the board. You will be best served to start with an outcome-based metric aligned with the high-level goals of the organization, such as lower customer acquisition costs or increased department ROI. Ultimately, your goals should be comprehensible to everyone and thus help individuals understand the overall impact of being more data-driven.
- Build smarter decks – When presenting ideas or design concepts, don't start with the creative. Start with your hypotheses, show how you used data to confirm or modify them, and then explain how these insights helped set the creative direction.
- Get everyone in the same room – Literally get everyone on a project physically together in a room to work on projects. This allows you to identify speed bumps or general inefficiencies collectively and work more effectively on collaborative solutions.
- Give everyone an equal vote – Don’t just ask people to voice their opinions and then leave the final decision up to a select few. Instead, empower a strategic team of people drawn from different departments and make this group part of the approval process. This kind of shared accountability can go a long way.
- Data in everything – Find a way to use data in everything. Create simple use case scenarios drawn from both work and non-work situations that people can relate to and use them to illustrate the concepts of data and data analysis.
- Share success – To stay aligned, have a weekly reporting huddle to review progress toward your common “smart” goal. Make this meeting quick, but take time to recognize people who have done something remarkable and have contributed to the goal.
- Cross-train your teams – Give your team a mental workout by making analysts think like creatives and creatives think like analysts. Do this by establishing games and activities that allow individuals to think outside of their comfort zones and beyond their work function. Such activities invite individuals to demonstrate their expertise and allow them to come together and understand different roles. They can also help create a more agile team and even uncover “hidden talents” of team members.
- Evangelize – Be sure to formally share your results with everyone across the company. Share across departments and up and down the organization so everyone understands exactly what is happening and what you've been able to achieve.