Loves Data hit another milestone yesterday after wrapping up the Sydney leg of the 2015 Analytics Conference. This is our fourth year of hosting the event in Australia and securing rockstar digital marketing speakers from across the globe. We’re presenting the Conference in Melbourne on Friday, so we promise we won’t reveal any spoilers. This blog post is about points that were touched on by all of our digital experts, which can be applied across any organisation, no matter the industry. After all: good data is good data.
1. It’s not the data, it’s the stories you tell with it
When data is clean, accurate and plentiful, we want to show it off. As beautiful as this dataset may be, to the untrained eye it’s meaningless and too difficult to understand. As analysts we must avoid showing off and instead tell stories with the data. Some tips from the experts? Be a good storyteller: make sure to be clear and concise, include overviews, some data visualisations (of course!) and short recommendations into all of your reports and presentations.
2. It all comes back to business goals and objectives
Too often we’re eager to take a deep dive into analytics without really knowing what the end goal is. This will set you off on a dark and winding path with no clear exit strategy. Mapping out what your business goals and objectives are is the first step towards creating data that matters. This point not only applies to data mining, but to A/B testing, campaign management, project management and more. Tying business goals and objectives with analysis will make you accountable, strategic and most importantly, make success measurable.
3. Put yourself in the shoes of your client/executive/stakeholder
You probably first came across this saying in primary school. Funnily enough, 20+ years on, it still applies to the industry you work in. Seeing the world from the point of view of your audience: whether this is client, executive, or stakeholder – this will help you understand and address their needs. Getting on the same page with the people you work with does wonders for progress. Sometimes you need to take a step back to move forward.
What’s a marketer and analyst got in common? The same business objectives. These two facets of a business may differ in terms of input (marketing tends to draw on creative, while analysis favours more technical implementation), but when it comes to output, we all want the same thing: growth for our business.
Jim Sterne, Godfather of digital analytics, provided a great case study from mass US retailer, Walmart. An analyst working for Walmart wasn’t satisfied with the company stocking every Walmart store with the same quantity of products. The stock should be supplied relative to consumers buying habits, and this makes sense from both a customer and revenue point of view. The data noted that there was a huge difference between what customers in the North purchased in comparison to customers in the South. However, only 75% of the time this difference ran true, and 25% of the time their buying habits matched each other. After taking this information to frontline checkout staff, one employee remarked that in the summer those from the North vacationed in the South, meaning they brought their buying habits with them.
Moral of the story? Don’t hesitate, collaborate! Bridging analysis with years of experience and know-how creates fireworks.
5. Feedback cycles do matter
We’ve already mentioned that tying business goals and objectives with your analysis project is a must. To do that, you need to set out performance metrics, a.k.a KPIs. You don’t want this to be a stab in the dark, so always make use of what you’ve already completed. The results of one project should be your starting point for your next project.
6. Have, and use, frameworks
Frameworks are repeatable processes that allow you to grow and scale. They also help you produce awesome analytics. Why? Using frameworks means you’re not doing the analysis blind but tying your work back to goals and objectives (are you seeing an overlap of themes? There’s good reason for this). One framework you can apply is the hierarchy of needs: recognising that different stakeholders/executives have different needs, which we must understand to address them. From this perspective, you’ll be able to meet the analytics needs at ALL levels across the organisation and look for opportunities to drive the business forward.
So Melbourne: it’s your turn next. Keep an eye on our next post which will cover the top takeaways from the conference in full.
What’s a theme you’ve taken away from #2015AC? Leave your thoughts in the comments.