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Strategic insights
From Data to Love. How to Change Your View on Data

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Written by on October 22, 2015

Last week I got a great question from one of my long term readers. He asked quite simply, "how would I get people in a newsroom to care about data?".

What a wonderful question!

As you can probably guess, this person is working for a big media company, but the question actually applies to any type of business, whether you are a publisher or a brand. How do you convince people, at every level, to love the data that you have?

We all know the problem with data. Too many times it's this indefinable, kind of abstract and disconnected thing. We hear about all these numbers, but we have no idea how to apply them to what we do. And even in those cases where we have found a way to optimize for a specific data point, we often find that it doesn't lead to the overall business goal that we were hoping for. It improved that one metric, but it didn't improve the business.

Essentially, the problem can be distilled into three major challenges, which are:

  1. The knowings
  2. The achievements
  3. The incentivizing

To get people to love data, you need to address every single one of these.

In this article, I will take you on a deep dive into what each of these are about, and what you do about them. Then you change not just how you look at data, but also all the people around you.

We all know that companies that love data are generally more successful and more innovative than companies who struggle to see the point of it.

We also know that many traditional businesses, whether it is a traditional newspaper or a magazine, or a traditionally run retail brand, often have a rather hostile way of thinking of data. In most of these companies, data is limited and restricted, preventing most of the employees (often even the key employees) from tracking how they are doing.

So, let's start with the first big challenge.

The knowings

One of key problems with analytics is that most people have no idea how it influences their business. And this is not just for the ordinary employees, many analytics people do not even know it either.

This in itself is a big part of why people don't love data. They simply don't know what it means. So instead they go into metrics mode in which they focus on very specific data points, trying to optimize those for the sake of the data.

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.

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