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6 Ways To Drive a Data-driven Marketing Culture

via MTA: Today, insights that come from effective data collection and analysis are more targeted and effective than ever before. The question for business leaders now becomes – how do you transform a traditionally-functioning marketing team into a data-driven powerhouse? asks, Mark Gambill, Chief Marketing Officer, MicroStrategy

Today, insights that come from effective data collection and analysis are more targeted and effective than ever before. The question for business leaders now becomes – how do you transform a traditionally-functioning marketing team into a data-driven powerhouse?

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 culture change comes in – to not only engage your marketing team with the data, but to have the team begin engaging with the data behind the data – to deliver textured analysis that enables and accelerates business transformation.

To help move the needle, I’ve outlined six major steps to implement a data-driven culture within your marketing organization that yields results:

1. Make it essential
Support for a data-driven marketing culture must begin at the very top. Today’s leaders need to both empower their team to take a closer look at the data and make it an essential part of their daily routine to dig into it for greater insights. The CMO should be the champion of this. Every day, I host an activity review meeting where we analyze our marketing activities against results. It allows for a vibrant exchange of information and inspires quick follow-up actions.

Push your team 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 it accessible
First of all, you have to democratize data and empower everyone with the right 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 everyone on the team an idea of what goals are most important, 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 it visual
The spreadsheet is not your friend. The data within the spreadsheet, however, is. Empower your marketing team to share and display information through visualizations – it brings boring data sets to life.

In addition to the giant screens on every wall at MicroStrategy that display relevant and revelational data, we also hold competitions for best visual displays of data – and then display them as art. Make data easily consumable, visually impactful, and personally meaningful to every member of the team.

4. Make it fun
The marketing department’s mission should be to make sure they never tune out when it comes to data. When you’re continuously looking at data, it’s easy to get burned out. Encourage your team 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 company event. By instilling a creative and curious data-driven mindset at your organization, you will inspire a more engaged, productive, and transformational team.

5. Make it rewarding
This is incredibly important. Highlight successes and the people that create those successes. If you want your team to be engaged with data, and work toward and exceed your organization’s goals, 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.

6. Make it your own
Like anything in life, every individual, team and organization brings their own swagger to data analysis. We all come to the table with unique perspectives and backgrounds that make our data analysis uniquely ours. This is something you should encourage your team–and organization as a whole–to embrace. For example, you can suggest that your data team create custom branding for their data tools, or maybe give a name to their analytics application. These seemingly small steps go a long way in making teams feel empowered, involved, and make them truly take ownership and pride in their responsibilities.

Of course, this data-driven cultural shift won’t happen overnight. But with the right tools, right team and executive support, your marketing organization can learn to push the boundaries and deliver stronger results by using data-driven insights. With each new project and initiative, encourage your team to embrace the data – have fun with it, make it unique, make it collaborative, make it their own. Make marketing the champion of the undeniable value of data.

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