For marketers of all persuasions, storytelling is part of our anatomy. But starting a story from scratch can be daunting, especially for marketers in the media space. To more effectively engage with prospects, take a step back first and answer these four questions.
1. Who is your audience?
A CMO and a Marketing Manager need to review different information in very different ways. Typically, the further a person climbs up the ladder, the further they are from the weeds and the details. C-level execs are looking to grab snackable information from you. And they need to know how it affects their company’s bottom line.
As you move down the ladder, your audience cares more about the metrics. They talk the industry talk and care about the more minute implications outside of revenue. Understanding your audience’s capacity for detail is the first key to creating a compelling story.
2. What KPIs do you care about?
In a novel, the author focuses on the main character. Too many supporting characters detract from the narrative. Similarly, your data story should focus on the main business problem at hand. If you care about leads, focus on leads. If you care about site visits, focus on site visits. Remove the additional metrics that create noise and detract from your main narrative.
3. What trends reveal themselves in the data?
Forming a story before analyzing the trends in your audience data is like baking a cake before you add the baking soda. The structure will fall flat and your time will be wasted (and, no cake). It also leads to you pulling out small pieces of data that support the story you want instead of uncovering the real story.
Have leads increased and decreased over time? Has the average time on your website increased? Was this change slow or abrupt? Finding out why first will help you build your narrative on solid foundation.
4. What are the key factors impacting your data?
Determining which factors within and outside of your control influence your data is like ensuring that all the loose threads in your story are tied up. Which media channels are running, when did they launch, and how well they are performing against the rest of your media mix? Elements like promotions, creative messaging, and budget allocation are all within your control.
The harder factors to evaluate are those outside of your control. Did a holiday weekend fall into your timeframe? Was the weather bad that week, discouraging people from shopping? Did a competitor change their strategy and gain more attention from consumers? These elements will be the details of your story and help determine how the story ends. Will it be a sale? Will your goals be met?
Let the answers to these four questions guide your narrative and save you some stress!