5 Ways Marketing Can Advance a Data-driven Culture | MicroStrategy
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5 Ways Marketing Can Advance a Data-driven Culture

When it comes to leading an awareness initiative, culture change or digital transformation, the CMO and the marketing organization play an all-important role as change agents, catalysts, and communicators.

In most organizations, the move to a data-driven culture isn’t a hard sell. IDC research shows that within 2 years, 70% of businesses will have analytics at the heart of their digital strategy.

But let’s face it, in an enterprise organization, everyone has data. They all look at the data. But exciting things don’t happen for organizations just looking at the facts. That’s where change agents come in—to not only engage employees with the data, but to have the organization begin engaging with the data behind the data—to deliver textured analysis that enables and accelerates business transformation.

Here are 5 ways marketing organizations can help lead that transformational change:

1. Make data essential

Support for a data-driven culture must begin at the very top, and the CMO should be a champion of making data an essential part of an organization’s daily activities. Every day, I host an activity review meeting where we analyze our activities against results. It allows for a vibrant exchange of information and inspires quick follow-up actions.

Push your teams for a full explanation of each data-based recommendation and decision they make. Continuously requiring data (and context) ensures every employee has a data-driven mindset when looking at their goals and actions from a quantitative and qualitative perspective.

2. Make data accessible

First of all, you have to democratize data across the organization and empower everyone with the right analytics tools. Effective teams can view data from a 360-degree perspective. My mantra is, “it isn’t a picture until we look at the front, rear, basement, and attic views of our information.” We filter information by geos, industries, sales periods, channels, campaigns—and then look further to deliver textured analysis. What’s happening, why, and what to do next—that, to me, is textured analysis.

When you have that data-driven mindset, and everyone collaborating with the same tools and methodology, you start to see exciting results—that’s when you get to those “aha!” moments.  

Accessibility also goes hand-in-hand with transparency. A high level of transparency gives all employees an idea of what goals are most important to the organization, and also reveals what everyone is doing on an individual level to move the team forward. For example, there are giant TV screens that display the KPIs for the marketing department outside of my office. They offer a glimpse of where we stand against our goals and objectives. This both encourages a focus on data and demonstrates our company’s values of transparency and data accessibility for all employees.

3. Make data visual

The spreadsheet is not your friend. The data within the spreadsheet however, is. Empower your marketing organization to share and display information through visualizations—it brings boring data sets to life.

At MicroStrategy’s offices, we have giant screens that display relevant and revelational data on every wall. We also hold competitions across the organization for best visual displays of data and then display them as art. Make data easily consumable, visually impactful, and personally meaningful to every employee.

4. Make data fun

The marketing department’s mission should be to make sure the organization never tunes out when it comes to data. When you’re continuously looking at data, it’s easy to get burned out. Encourage teams to get enthusiastic and creative with the data they are mining and the insights they seek. Hold a datathon—do a data analysis around a fun or philanthropic event. Name your analytics application and give it custom branding. By instilling a creative and curious data-driven mindset at your organization, you will inspire a more engaged, productive, and transformational team.

5. Make data rewarding

This is incredibly important. Highlight successes and the people that create those successes. If you want your teams to be engaged with data, work toward your organization’s goals, and achieve transformation, you need to make the work rewarding. Give prizes or awards for the most impactful data analysis. An emphasis on sharing success will foster a more collaborative and effective workplace.

As with any change initiative, a data-driven culture shift won’t happen overnight—but it needs to happen. Data is the key to transforming the customer experience. It is critical to discovering and developing new business models. It is essential to staying afloat in an era of accelerating digital disruption.

With the right tools, right teams, lots of creativity, and both bottom-up and top-down support, the marketing department can lead and inspire the change needed to propel the organization towards becoming an Intelligent Enterprise. Make data essential. Make data accessible. Make data visual, fun, and rewarding. Make marketing the champion of your transformation.


Want to learn more about how data and analytics can drive transformational change? Get Disrupting Digital Business author and analyst Ray Wang’s insight and advice in The Role of Data in Digital Transformation webcast.

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