We have talked about storytelling in analytics, as well as good data practices here on our blog. Another huge part of our highly evolved analytics here at Modus Direct is effective communication.

We pride ourselves on the fact that we treat people, like people—not data crunching robots! Communication in marketing is largely governed by the same principles as communication in any other aspect of life. There’s no secret format of data feed to upload information directly into our client’s consciousness, but at the same time we have a responsibility to share a huge amount of information with some very busy people. On top of that, we expect them to collaborate with us to make their campaigns successful. To respect our clients’ and colleagues time and attention, we follow a very basic principle here at Modus: Keep it simple.

That all sounds great, I know. Who doesn’t want to be part of a mutual-respect-fest that also churns out actionable marketing analytics? But how do you take overwhelming amounts of data, and interpret and present it in a simple way? Well, to keep things simple, here are the three mantras we live by:

  1. Simplify the Content: Relevance

To decide what’s relevant you must first to take in a large mass of information. This requires the perseverance to delve deep and consider everything, and then to stand back and consider what’s most important from a big-picture perspective.

This is the “tip of the iceberg” principle: the information you share is just the very top, the most relevant, succinct, actionable piece of information gleaned from the giant analysis you’ve done. In sharing your analytics with others, it is vital to prioritize. Yes, you’ve done a ton of work and the rest of that iceberg is there if and when you need it, but people, especially busy people, want to see the answer, not the equation.

  1. Simplify the Context: Authority

“Authority” might sound a little out of place alongside marketing industry buzz words, but it’s a powerful concept when applied to sharing analytics. Authority in the context of communication very much depends on the audience—you may be an expert in your field, but if you don’t have your audience convinced of that authority, it will take a lot more time and work on both sides for your findings to be understood and accepted. We find that speaking with authority on our clients’ campaigns requires a fair amount of learning on our part. We seek to become experts on our clients’ business, because how can we speak with authority when we analyze their campaign if we don’t understand their operations? Understanding this context will help you keep your head above the surface, and enable you to clearly see that vital tip-of-the-iceberg conclusion.

 

  1. Simplify the Presentation: Absorption

This is probably the simplest mantra of them all. Make your reports easy to read. If you’re already able to speak with authority, and you’ve identified the most relevant info to share, your only job here is to make it as easy to absorb as possible. For example, simply including a graph makes your report 43% more believable. It’s true!

This was the conclusion of a study published in the journal Public Understanding of Science. 97% of people who read an article believed the findings when there was a graph included, compared to just 68% when there was no graph, but the exact same information was presented. Never take for granted how powerful the presentation is to the digestion of the information.

 

Next time you’re preparing analytics to share, take a deep breath (maybe rake your zen garden), and remember: keep it simple!

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/10/17/356713677/just-seeing-charts-and-graphs-makes-drug-claims-more-credible