October 26, 2021
Nicole Dragon, Manager Marketing Strategy
In an industry filled with data driven minds, I like to think of myself as the strategic interpreter. Understanding data is everything. Having the strategic mind to build a story around data is just as important as the numbers themselves. Telling the story strategically provides the full picture, a practice at the core of Blend360’s solution offerings.
In today’s rapidly growing data science industry, companies spend significant effort to develop solutions that deliver on data. Adding a strategic component to these types of solutions can ensure success and adoption. Bringing strategic emphasis to a solution means focusing on creating a valuable, relevant, and tangible offering. This provides an added layer of context, often responsible for bringing a solution to life. Data is difficult to talk about and you need to know your audience. Adding that strategic data storytelling layer makes it digestible and tangible.
Think of the strategic component as the What and Why behind data solutions. Ask yourself:
· What is happening in the industry that can help explain trends in the data?
· What role are competitors playing in the overall ecosystem?
· What is the problem the business is attempting to solve?
· What is the opportunity and does this offer a competitive advantage?
· What data is needed to inform identified opportunities and solve the problem?
· Why is the business pursuing the chosen opportunity over another?
· Why are stakeholders looking for a solution related to this data?
An enterprise-wide deliverable requires an integrated strategy, as well as clear execution of data analysis. By asking these what and why questions, you are enabling yourself and stakeholders to think very clearly about what the business really needs. Having this strategic foundation will guide you in creating a data driven solution that is laser focused on solving the problem at hand.
Based on Forrester’s Drive More Impact From Data And Analytics With Insights Storytelling piece, “insights storytelling is your key activator. Without storytelling, data offers just a rear-view mirror.” It is your job to convince stakeholders to buy in to your solution. Data and insights cannot always drive this alone. Adding a strategic layer is as important to driving outcomes as data and insights - so provide that full view. Give stakeholders the full story.
While there are many ways to bring strategic elements to data science, I like to bucket the process into three areas. First, start with market and industry research. This will help to inform your customer journey experience, which helps build the story.
1. MARKET INDUSTRY & RESEARCH
Get smart on the industry. Market research will help you assess current trends in the industry, a vital step in understanding what the right business decision is. Market research is the foundation of a strong strategy and will allow you to tie your data back to relevant industry statistics. Some areas to think about are:
· What is the organizations financial standing in comparison to the industry’s top players?
· What are the organizations strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT)?
· What is the current demand in the industry?
· How will the current market change in the short-term and long-term?
· Are there industry events that can help support data findings?
· What are competitors doing?
2. KNOW THE CUSTOMER / PRODUCT
Knowing the customer or product is essential for any business undertaking. With so much consumer data now available, it is important to understand them deeply to make a product or service most effective. A strategy is born when data findings can be applied and inserted into the customer journey. Ask yourself:
· Who is the target market and are there statistics to be gathered on them?
· How has this target market changed over time or will change in the next few years?
· What are the phases in the customer life cycle journey?
· Where are the opportunities for improvement in process, facilitation, availability, cost?
3. TELL THE STORY
The most important step is when data and insights come together in true strategic fashion. Data storytelling, or the practice of creating a narrative around a set of data to communicate meaning and insights in a compelling way, is what will set a solution apart from just the numbers. The ability to convey data in a way that stakeholders can comprehend will put both you and them in a position to make the right decisions that drive business impact. Forbes named data storytelling as “the essential science skill everyone needs.”
At Blend360, we ensure both strong data insights and strategic advisory – try and name a better duo in this ever-growing data saturated world.
Forbes article referenced: