We kicked off our launch with an event in Sydney together with Andy Lark, CMO of Foxtel, to discuss the Future that is Data Storytelling.
What is data storytelling?
Data storytelling is a methodology for communicating information, tailored to a specific audience, with a compelling narrative. It is the last ten feet of your data analysis and arguably the most important aspect.
We spoke to Andy Lark about a talk he gave at the Teradata One marketing connect event in Sydney a few years ago. At this event, he spoke about the need to embrace new data-driven ways of customer engagement. As Andy had said, “storytelling is the gateway to engagement”.
This led us to ask, what’s changed since then? According to Andy, a lot has changed, but a lot hasn’t. Marketers still struggle with similar problems. There’s so much available data but actually deriving meaning from that data is where it gets difficult.
Here are some key takeaways from the launch event in Sydney:
One of the biggest gripes our customers have is, ‘give me insights, not data’. Why is it so hard to transform data into something with meaning?
Marketers struggle to get clarity on what the dominant drivers in the business are, to be able to interpret the data in the context of the business. As Andy said, “it’s not very hard to build a dashboard for Marketing, but the real problem becomes the stories that you take out of that dashboard and ensuring the actual people on the teams are empowered to move quickly.”
“The problem with most marketing dashboards is that they’re built for the CMO to explain to someone else in the business why they spent ’x’ million dollars. They’re not built for the people that do the actual work. People that do the work need to be empowered every day to make decisions really quickly, by being able to articulate the story behind the data.”
For a mid level manager, how do you build a business case to make those kinds of changes?
The immediate reaction from most people is to try and build a case for ROI. The business case should be built around how different teams learn to work with the tools and how efficient the systems are rather than ROI.
“Most SaaS software is not an ROI conversation. The reality is that there are some big decisions you have to make- you need to prove culturally and systematically, that the tool can be used to manage tasks, activities and programs of work and how it’s changed the way your team works.”
According to Andy, marketers, operations and sales execs are getting much more adept at proof of concept, showing how quickly implementation happens. The ROI will then prove itself.
It’s important that the whole team buys into the system. How do you convince them?
“You’ve got to drive the software where the skills are.”
For example, a creative type may not have the same work style as the more systematic members of the team and their opinions may differ. The decision needs to be driven from where the work is being done- it should not be a CMO led decision.
Build it or buy it?
In large enterprises, data should be a core capability but it’s hard to build the system. Enterprise software companies may take a year or two to build out the software but then there will be a personalised system that caters to the business.
On the other hand, with SaaS software, the team has to to adjust their working practices and principles to the software. However, there is a huge benefit to this. With SaaS software, “you can buy and deploy software quickly and focus on building your marketing pipeline and feeds, in and out of the business.” This allows marketers to free their capacity to be in the business of fuelling the software with data rather than spending time having to manage the software.
The key decision should be around what the ultimate scale point for the software is. One of the main things to look at in a ‘build vs buy’ decision is having some simple questions to start with:
- Is this a single or multiple user or group use case?
- What is the ultimate point of scale in the software that I think I might get to?
- What are the additional plug in costs around this piece of software?
Work closely with your CIO or IT teams around what are the questions you should be asking.
Pro Tip: Geek out and attend IT conferences like Amazon or Google conferences on tech. There’s a lot to learn about how the software works and what marketers need to be thinking about.
How do you make the shift from traditional to a more cloud-based business?
“You have to advocate for it. You’ve got to step out and figure out how to be in the front of it.”
If help is needed, make friends with the IT team to help navigate stuff very simply and easily.
Andy explained, “At Foxtel, we mostly try and work in the cloud but we’re still plagued with endless powerpoint documents and the hardest thing is to communicate upwards. We have a ton of data for all the information we need, but if someone were to request a summary of the data, it would take a lot of time to put it together. The dilemma is always what works inside a function largely doesn’t work outside of a function when you have to communicate with other teams and other people.”
Marketing leaders have to join the dots for a lot of other people within the company so they are informed about what’s going on.
Companies like Nugit solve for this problem by providing tools to help teams report more effectively. For more insights into the Nugit product, check out a demo: https://www.nugit.co/product-demo-prospects-ondemand-webinar
Check out the full audio clip below: