Tell me a story

At the tail end of last year I ran a week long ideation workshop for my extended team. We split in to four groups, with each group focusing on a different social medial scenario. It was a fun week and generated a load of unique ideas.

Having been inspired by the work the team had done I decided to revisit it in the new year. What really interested me was telling a story from the data. It also caused me to question why we were isolating social media and more broadly why digital marketing likes to treat channels separately. Is it the channel that’s important or is it the the user who’s important?

At the time Nike were in the process of launching the Fuel Band and I was intrigued by the various campaigns they were running and the different channels they were using. I spent a good bit of time exploring the different channels, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, the Fuel Band microsite, and searching for the Fuel Band in Google.

As a user it felt like a fragmented experience and it made me question what was happening with all this data I was generating and what story it was telling about me. What was the Marketer or Product Manager seeing? Did they have a dashboard or a spreadsheet that showed the number of tweets, retweets, Facebook likes, page clicks, etc. Is there really any value in reporting we had 1m Facebook likes and 10k retweets? Did they have a conversion funnel showing the number of pre-orders? Was there an Analytics Manager in the background frantically aggregating data across disparate databases and building custom reports? Was the data simply being folded around the metrics that were deemed as important, or was the data telling a story? I suspect the former.

I really wanted to move away from the metric-centric world and focus on the data telling a story. I wanted the data to provide insights that could be acted upon. I wanted to stop optimizing the metrics and focus on optimizing the experience.

Last week I watched a Ted Talk from Jer Thorp called Make data more human. It struck a cord. He was using data to tell a story.

The digital marketing space and the onslaught of big data feels ripe for disruption. Who’s going to break from the norm and innovate the data? Start telling stories, not reporting metrics!