Analytics Providers Should Know the Audience
Unfortunately, there are too many pushers in the data and analytics field. Too many make false promises, and too many misguide the masses with one-size-fits all solution packages. I am sorry to inform the marketers that such things never work well, regardless of the price tag. Data solution is about the best combination of available data, toolsets and technologies, not about finding the silver bullet and paying for it.
Analytics must be about solving business problems using any type of technology or techniques necessary, advanced or otherwise. Sometimes all we need is a simple series of business intelligence reports or profiles. Sometimes we may need statistical models to boost the conversion rate and reduce churn rate. Sometimes we may need econometrics modeling to optimize channel, product offering or even marketing budgets. Sometimes we need all of the above, but not in the order of evolution of the analytics, but in the order of client needs. And data geeks must never forget that this whole thing is about the business, not about technology. In other words, re-platforming the data environment into something that sounds cool in the geek circle should never be the goal on its own. Let’s not forget that sometimes all we need to prescribe are two pills of Ibuprofen, not a drill bit through the patient’s skull.
And when the data players deliver the outcome, develop some bedside manners, please. Not everyone enjoys going through the data journey, step-by-step, recounting every bullet. We need to be able to back up the claims with real figures for data enthusiasts, but don’t assume that everyone will want to start the conversation with gory details about assumptions, methodologies and 30-page reports.
One tip? Start with an executive summary in fewer than five bullet points (three are better), and present the next steps in fewer than five bullet points, as well. Imagine the presentation is cut down to 15 minutes without warning. What will your audience retain?
Stephen H. Yu is a world-class database marketer. He has a proven track record in comprehensive strategic planning and tactical execution, effectively bridging the gap between the marketing and technology world with a balanced view obtained from more than 30 years of experience in best practices of database marketing. Currently, Yu is president and chief consultant at Willow Data Strategy. Previously, he was the head of analytics and insights at eClerx, and VP, Data Strategy & Analytics at Infogroup. Prior to that, Yu was the founding CTO of I-Behavior Inc., which pioneered the use of SKU-level behavioral data. “As a long-time data player with plenty of battle experiences, I would like to share my thoughts and knowledge that I obtained from being a bridge person between the marketing world and the technology world. In the end, data and analytics are just tools for decision-makers; let’s think about what we should be (or shouldn’t be) doing with them first. And the tools must be wielded properly to meet the goals, so let me share some useful tricks in database design, data refinement process and analytics.” Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.