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Use The Data To Tell Your Story

Most organizations recognize that being a successful, data-driven company requires skilled developers and analysts. Fewer grasp how to use data to tell a meaningful story that resonates both intellectually and emotionally with an audience. Marketers are responsible for this story; as such, they’re often the bridge between the data and those who need to learn something from it, or make decisions based on its analysis. Marketers can tailor the story to the audience and effectively use data visualization to complement a narrative. We know that data is powerful. But with a good story, it’s unforgettable.

Companies must understand that data will be remembered only if presented in the right way. And often a slide, spreadsheet or graph is not the right way; a story is. Executives and managers are being bombarded with dashboards brimming with analytics. They struggle with data-driven decision making because they don’t know the story behind the data. Marketers can make that data more meaningful through the use of storytelling.

Stories are meaningful when they are memorable, impactful and personal. People respond to messaging when it’s delivered either with statistics or through story. When data and stories are used together, they resonate with audiences on both an intellectual and emotional level. Stories, particularly those that are meaningful, are an effective way to convey data.

Most captivating storytellers grasp the importance of understanding the audience. They might tell the same story to a child and adult, but the intonation and delivery will be different. In the same way, a data-based story should be adjusted based on the listener. For example, when speaking to an executive, statistics are likely key to the conversation, but a business intelligence manager would likely find methods and techniques just as important to the story.

Good data visualizations can also enhance a story. Good data visualization does a few things. It stands on its own; if taken out of context, the reader should still be able to understand what a chart is saying because the visualization tells the story. It should also be easy to understand. And while too much interaction can distract, the visualization should incorporate some layered data so the curious can explore.

By rethinking the way we use data and understanding our audience, we can create meaningful stories that influence and engage the audience on both an emotional and logical level. Contact SPIN today to see how you can begin writing your story!

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