3 Common Sense Tactics for Achieving a Data-Driven Culture

By Douglas Eldridge

A data-driven culture ensures your team is running efficiently and that customers are being treated to the experience they deserve.

Back in 2008, I took a graduate-level statistics class that was eye-opening. It was eye-opening for two reasons: one, it showed me how easy it is to manipulate data and two, it showed me how hard it is to manipulate data.

What my professor couldn't have known in the fall of 2008 was the onslaught of data we'd soon be facing, which means the Excel tricks he showed us aren't quite the magic they were back then.

A data-driven culture should ensure a team is running efficiently, that customers are being treated to the experience they deserve and the products that people are being marketed are products that are meaningful to them. But how do you get there?

The following are some common sense approaches to creating that culture. If you're looking for something groundbreaking, I'm sure you won't have to look far, but my experience is many people start with groundbreaking and forget the common sense, then are overwhelmed and fail as a result. I speak from experience. Having had to strategize how to work with data from a marketing agency perspective, I have certainly put the cart before the horse on a number of occasions, but it never worked out well. Much like you don't run 26.2 miles on your first day of marathon training, don't try to get too much out of your data on the first day of your project.

A common sense approach at the beginning will lead to more innovation and creativity around your data in the end, because your team will find new talents and creative outlets around data as it becomes accustomed to the culture.

So, with no further ado, here is what and how to get started moving toward a data-driven culture.

Internal Data Is Invaluable

Every company uses data. Frequently when businesses think about becoming data-driven, they turn to external, customer data, while ignoring the rich array of data they collect internally. Using this internal data to monitor and improve efficiency is the best place to begin putting data to work, in my opinion.I'm not suggesting you use it to lay off people, rather, use it to help your employees improve their own efficiency.

While efficiency is hard to measure, data never lies. For sales and marketing start with the CRM. Your CRM probably has a lot more data than you give it credit for. If you read further than sales and service you can find trends that tell you which campaigns and data sources are working and how and where should you be targeting your audience.

By starting with data to help your internal processes, you will have a clear example of the power of data. From there, you can learn to take advantage of it at higher levels while also generating a healthier bottom line with higher productivity.