We live in the age of data.
In theory, companies are taking advantage of the abundance of information available to them to improve their product, target the right audiences, and stay at the top of their market. In fact, more than half of U.S. companies say that they use data for descriptive or diagnostic decisions. However, almost two-thirds of these business leaders also said they think their companies could do a better job of using data to make decisions.
Here are five practical ways to improve your data-driven decision making!
1. Make data more accessible
In the fast-paced world of data and technology, flexibility and agility are more important than ever. You have no choice but to make decisions quickly to keep up. Unfortunately, the data you need to make these decisions is often too difficult to get your hands on in a timely fashion.
The process of collecting and analyzing data takes time and money—both of which may be in short order when you need them.
One of the best ways to improve your data process is to make it more accessible for different members of your team. The more people who have access to the numbers, the ability to interpret them, and the incentive to follow-through, the easier it is to make decisions backed with data.
2. Make data more appealing
Data can be scary, especially for those in creative roles or who consider themselves “not numbers people.”
Overcoming the fear barrier requires the right tools and education. Encourage team members at all levels to jump in and learn how to use the data tools at their disposal. Give them time to learn, form partnerships with data experts, attend workshops with professionals who can teach them to run and read reports, and create an environment that permits people to develop these skills. When team members are confident about their grasp of the data, they can learn to love it.
3. Make data more available
What would you rather read: a color-coded pie chart or rows of numbers? Most people would pick the first—but most companies still operate with the second. If you want to create a culture where all team members use data to make decisions, give them the ability to easily comprehend the data.
Look for systems that offer multiple reporting levels and types. Find dashboards that not only extract information but provide different levels of analytics and projections. Examine systems that give connections and trends.
4. Make data more applicable
What is your data doing for you? If the data you’re examining doesn’t provide you the insight you need to solve problems or set goals, it’s possible you’re looking in the wrong place. There is infinite data available to you, and you should focus on the data that’s applicable. For instance, say you have unhappy customers in a given region. You’re going to want to pinpoint red-flag data, like an increased delay in orders to that region.
The metrics you focus on should either help you improve, grow, or solve a problem. Start thinking about the decisions you have to make on a regular basis, such as where to advertise, and get in the habit of collecting the data that will help you with that choice. Once you have a good grasp on how to use that data, you can start thinking outside the box and capture data that you expect to help in the future.
5. Make data more agile
Agile decision making requires agile data. By watching your data, you should be able to spot warning signs and solve problems before they become, well, problems. A poor click-through-rate could mean you’re targeting the wrong audience. Delayed delivery could be a sign that unhappy customers are on the horizon. The more time you spend working with data, the easier it becomes to interpret it.
Agility requires collaboration among departments, teams, systems, and software. Whether it’s cross-departmental meetings or master dashboards, bringing your teams and data into one place empowers you to make better decisions faster—something that helps you avoid the pitfall of silos.
Data is only getting more important. Now’s the time to spark the shift to focusing on the numbers and improving your company’s data-based decision-making.
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Gabe Arnold is the founder of Copywriter Today where you can get unlimited fresh content for all your marketing needs. If you want 250 free headline ideas for your next marketing campaign, use their free tool here.