How to Foster a Data-Driven Culture in Your Business

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“Data is king.” This is a fact we can all agree with. Global data growth is being fueled by increased access to the internet, as well as mobile phone and social media use. But if you don’t take advantage, you miss out on an opportunity to create a data-driven culture that leads to big wins…

Most of the existing conversations around data are focused on big data, tools, and the technologies available for storing and processing them. What’s more important is knowing how to use your data to gain a competitive advantage. 

In a Forrester report, it was found that data-driven organizations experience an annual growth rate of 30%. 

If you want that kind of growth, adopting a data-driven culture in your organization should be a new priority. Globally, we’ve seen how data trends have disrupted the market, and those who fail to adjust have seen themselves falling behind their competition. 

What Is a Data-Driven Culture?

A data-driven culture is becoming the new standard when it comes to how businesses operate. It involves basing business decisions on data-derived facts rather than intuition.

There’s a renewed focus on analyzing figures related to your profits or relying on an advanced analytics model. Data is no longer just a tool; the extent of its use is now exercised at a higher level. 

With so much marketing data now available, it is now at the forefront of all aspects of decision-making. And for this reason, it compels businesses to revise their methodology and framework to access technologies that will store, process, and analyze it more effectively. 

Why It Matters for Marketing & Innovation

Fostering a data-driven culture was identified as one of the top business intelligence trends for 2021 by Bi-Survey.com. But why?

Data and creativity are two aspects of a business that don’t usually belong in the same plane. However, fostering a data-driven culture within your organization can fuel innovation and improve your marketing strategy.

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Take Google, for example. It’s probably the best illustration of a data-driven organization that is also focused on innovation.

To innovate, an organization must have access to data that will give them predictive analysis of future trends so they can identify opportunities in the market. That’s why Google starts with gathering and analyzing data. They leverage the data available to them to develop new products, create or break boundaries, and get ahead of their competition (as if there is any). 

In the marketing aspect of it, a data-driven approach helps you develop better strategies. You can use it to proactively identify trends, patterns, and opportunities. 

Data offers marketing professionals an unbiased look into your marketing performance, as well as the ability to forecast trends and results using variables within your organization. 

How to Foster a Data-Driven Culture in Your Business

If you want to gain a competitive advantage (and why wouldn’t you?), you need to foster a data-driven culture within your organization.

Here are some of the best ways to achieve this…

1) Lead by Example

When establishing any type of culture in your organization, it must start at the leadership or top-management level. You need to lead by example, as they say. 

As a leader, you need to influence your employees to anchor their decisions based on data. 

When leaders practice this approach, their team members are more likely to follow suit. Then, it’s only a matter of time until a company-wide shift in your approach to decision-making takes place. 

2) Choose Metrics That Matter

Another advantage to adopting a data-driven culture is that you can focus on metrics that are relevant to your business performance and the information hidden behind the data.

For example, if you are analyzing your SEO performance, the user flow metrics will show data on impressions, clicks, and visits. Looking at this data is not enough, however. You’ll want to identify the keywords or search terms used, the search volume for each targeted keyword, and the amount of website visits generated. 

Using this data, you can develop an analytical report on how various factors of your SEO strategy have played a role in your objective to increase website visits and/or conversions. 

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Simply put, digging deep into valuable metrics will enable you to develop actionable steps to achieve your desired results and to experience rapid growth

3) Make Your Data Consistent & Aligned with Company Goals

Before you make data a part of your company’s DNA, it’s important that you ensure the data you are capturing is consistent with your company vision and goals. Focus on setting data-based goals and identifying essential business KPIs that match them. 

And don’t withhold data from any department in your company. It should be readily available to your colleagues and employees, and it should be utilized in a way that supports your internal processes as you work toward a goal. 

In a data-driven culture, data is present in every task that is to be accomplished and in every decision that is made. 

4) Let Go of All Assumptions 

There are three kinds of approaches when it comes to reading and analyzing data:

  1. You have a preconceived notion about data and are fixated on that, regardless of what the actual data is showing.
  2. You only use data to support a conclusion that has already been formed in your mind.
  3. You extract information from data in an objective manner—whether it is good or bad.

If you want to adopt a data-driven culture within your organization, you need to let go of any assumptions you have. Read and analyze data in an objective manner. Take it for what it is. 

You should then make decisions based on the testing and measurement of the available data. 

5) Know How to Read the Data

This is one of the primary challenges organizations face when they choose to adopt a data-driven culture. 

Once you have access to data, how do you evaluate it? 

There are two ways data can come to you:

  1. Unstructured data is extracted in raw form. You need to employ quantitative tools and methods to gain insights behind the unstructured data. It is your team’s responsibility to read the data and identify which metrics are valuable to your organization (and its goals).
  2. Structured data, on the other hand, is organized and divided into categories; therefore, it is easier to analyze. This comes as a result of siloed processes and systems. 
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Obviously, we highly suggest structured data, especially for small businesses. It’ll make it much easier to use.

6) Use Data for Positive Results

Another one of the major challenges you’ll face in creating a data-driven culture is learning how to separate your emotions from the data.

When you have invested your time and effort on a campaign, but the data isn’t giving you the results you want, you may start second-guessing your decisions. 

That’s why you should aim to take a positive approach in analyzing data insights. 

You might feel like you have wasted company resources working on a particular campaign that doesn’t deliver the desired results. But instead of looking at it as a failure, use it as an opportunity to identify aspects of your campaign that are worth further investment. 

After all, that’s what data is for, right? 

7) Work with a Marketing Company That Specializes in Data

Team working at table looking at graphs and data on laptops to develop marketing strategy.

It can be tough to implement the tactics we’ve outlined above, and data can often be misinterpreted. 

Therefore, working with a data-driven marketing company is a wise choice. It’s a worthwhile investment because these companies have so much experience with data, and they know how to get the most out of it.

That’s what we specialize in at Viral Solutions. We employ a data-driven approach in every aspect of what we do, and we apply best practices to encourage growth

Final Thoughts

Data is no longer just a tool that enables you to analyze and monitor progress. It also empowers your business to automate tasks, coordinate work, personalize your marketing, organize your business, and make crucial decisions. 

The volume of data is not what’s important in a data-driven culture. It’s how you use the data that is available to your organization that matters most.

 


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Filed Under: Analytics, Leadership & Company Culture

About Lindsey Perron

As Thomas’ daughter, Lindsey was introduced to the world of sales and marketing at an early age. Curious about what her dad did, Lindsey would jump at every opportunity to help and ride along on sales calls. Always quick to take charge and lead the group—a trait that has only grown with time—Lindsey was frequently told by her parents that she was destined to be a manager or CEO of some sort. While working toward earning her bachelor’s degree in human services from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Lindsey interned with the UW Office of Equality and Affirmative Action and served on several councils, which gave her the opportunity to develop her persuasive writing skills, researching skills, problem-solving skills, project management skills, and more. After working as the lead teacher of the 4-year-old room at the local daycare center, Lindsey decided to switch gears and join the Viral Solutions team. In her position, Lindsey is able to help clients think through an end goal and reverse engineer it into the steps needed to achieve it.

When she’s not working, Lindsey loves spending time with family, be it traveling somewhere together or just hanging out at home.