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How to tell your story with great analytics

As my colleague Inka mentioned in our last blog, we’ve reached the stage where there is so much data out there that navigating our way through the noise by implementing data-driven strategies has become a real organisational priority.

This demand for bite-size options is truly impacting the way that data is represented. Right now, we’ve seen a clear trend towards our clients opting for great and simple data visualisation options. They want charts and visuals that speak for themselves, so that they can be shared internally within their organisations, with the need for only minor additional explanation copy.

Getting there requires a well-considered strategy where the target audience stands front and centre. Just as is the case with effective content marketing, we need to be able to look at the information and easily identify the key insights that the data provides.

A wealth of information, a lack of insights

The main challenge right now is the sheer volume of data out there. Effective marketing communications in 2020 and beyond requires the careful monitoring of a multitude of sources, and a means of cutting through the noise that comes with it. Think of the growing role for social media channels and the recent dynamic of B2B trade shows moving towards a digital format. At the same time, there are many subject matter experts (SMEs) and influencers out there talking about your industry and your products. How do you determine which ones are relevant enough to monitor and reach out to?

Instead of overwhelming your audience with a vast array of irrelevant charts, customised charted data and analysis should be prioritised so that informed decisions can be made. It calls for a more proactive outreach approach, where data is analysed in detail with the customer’s specific needs in mind and presented in a visually attractive bite-size way.

Finding the needle in a haystack

Defining which data to show and focus on is easier said than done. But there are some basic guidelines that can steer you in the right direction. In general, you could say that data that matters can fall into four categories, some of which may overlap:

  1. Data that relates to your objectives (e.g. growing your reach in target audience).
  2. Data that measures success (e.g. year-on year comparisons).
  3. Data which will show you where you can improve.
  4. Data which helps you make better decisions.

Making the right decisions on how to incrementally process and interpret “big” data and package it into clear reports and charts that speak for themselves, demands agility, as well as exceptional timing and processing speeds. It’s about offering automatically publishable reports and real-time dashboards that answer the specific but recurring questions that customers have. However, as mentioned in our previous blog, there are numerous tools available that can help you periodically extract the right insights that you need to win.

The fundamentals of effective data visualization

As soon as you have the data, the real hard work begins – distilling it down into something useful, actionable and above all, clear. The ultimate goal of data visualisation is to effectively communicate information through graphical means. Some charts may be attractive to the eye but are they conveying the information so that there is no danger of miscommunication?

You need to tread carefully when choosing your charts. Stick with essentials and don’t overdo the effects. It doesn’t mean that you have to abandon fancy colour schemes or graphics altogether as they can be great tools for impact. But remember to handle with care – style should never dictate substance!

For example, be careful when using 3D effects on your charts. They may look attractive but could also be making the data harder to read and more confusing. Just try it out and see for yourself what happens when flipping the focal point of a 3D pie chart around when communicating quarterly results. The real size of a slice might appear different to what it actually is, and the presentation could be inadvertently misleading your audience.

3D pie chart
Look at this 3D Pie Chart. Which slice is larger? If you said green, then you’d be wrong. Let’s look at the next image.


Do you see the difference now? The pie chart is still on the same rotation level but seen from a different angle. Have a look at the percentages as well. By adding them you have a clearer view of what the colours represent. Similar as in life, sometimes data just needs to be looked at from a different angle to make sense.

Conversely, when used well, graphics can effectively make your data easier to read and/or more attractive to see. Think of replacing a number with a symbol, a chart element with an image, or even the placing of a chart on an image. In some cases, your image could even function as the chart itself.

EMG: A true partner for data analytics

If you want to win in today’s market, then you need to have a good understanding of what your data analytics mean and how they can help you provide actionable insight for your business. With years of experience in honing in on actionable insights, and presenting them in a clear and visually attractive way, EMG has the right tools in place to help you to confidently navigate today’s market landscape.

Get in touch with us today and let us identify that golden nugget of data required to win through our customised and optimised marketing communications data analytics strategies.

 

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Posted by
Margo GabriĆ«ls 
on September 2, 2020

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