The Oracle Data Cloud blog highlights the latest data-driven insights and trends in digital marketing and ad tech.

  • November 29, 2016

Is your audience getting the right message?

Marketers know that it’s not enough to simply show consumers data points—it’s the story-telling aspect in the data that really hooks readers. But finding a thread of narrative among raw data is sometimes challenging.

Whether you’re presenting campaign analytics, creating data visualizations or informing ad creative, the narrative that emerges is dependent on the actions of the marketer, analyst or designer to bring the data to life.

To help marketers harness the power of data-driven storytelling, we connected with Tim Degner, Concept and Communication Designer at Nike, to learn more about the influence that the presenter has over data-driven messaging.

Degner has spent his career working with clients on information design, brand strategy and revealing consumer insights by transforming complex data into simple visual designs. He’s worked with companies across all industries from Tech, Retail, CPG, Healthcare and Nonprofits, which gave him a visual narrative from all sides.

Recently, Degner delivered a presentation for the Digital Analytics Association illustrating how a simple dataset can be transformed 30 different ways to expose multiple messages to your audience. Here’s one example of how two narratives can be extracted from the exact same dataset, based on places Degner traveled to in the U.S.

Fig. 1: U.S. states Tim visited. Conclusion? “I have been all over the country!”

Fig. 2: Remove state lines + dot exact locations. Conclusion? “I guess I haven’t been all over the country.”

This clearly illustrates that while the data itself isn’t malleable, the message is. So, how can marketers make the most out of their data and ensure they are delivering a message that resonates with key audiences? Here are three top tips from Degner:

  1. Know your audience
    This piece is critical to making your content resonate, because it informs not just the tone of your content, but the depth to which you take the subject matter. Ask yourself these questions to identify them: Are you speaking to a subject matter expert or a first-time user? Is your intended audience internal or external, will they understand terminology?
  2. Make your content piece engaging
    Whether it’s an infographic, an analytics report for internal colleagues or a piece of creative, the content should tell a story. As Degner explains, treat content like a speech: make sure the tone reads like a written piece and has a book-ended narrative.
  3. The message should be clear
    Regardless of who the audience is or what their experience level is, Degner advises, content should be succinct and easy to understand. “More data isn’t necessarily better,” he says.   

Bottom line for marketers: your data tells a story, but you get to decide how to best present it to your consumers. Using these tips, we hope you not only harness the underlying narrative within your datasets, but find success in engaging your reader with a whole new data-driven outlook.

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