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Ditch the Kindle, data is your new story


written by Chris Bourne

sales-i 29081 2014-07-17 1440960
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Storytelling is the most effective method of communication. Stories have impact, create memories, visualize events and lead someone down a very specific path. Stories generate emotional attachment, articulate facts and ultimately drive people to their own conclusions. I mean, who doesn’t like a beginning, middle and end?

Hollywood knows that a good story makes money, so why can’t businesses adopt the same method? All good stories need substance, and in the business world, data is your substance.

Storytelling is the most effective method of communication. Stories have impact, create memories, visualize events and lead someone down a very specific path. Stories generate emotional attachment, articulate facts and ultimately drive people to their own conclusions. I mean, who doesn’t like a beginning, middle and end?

Hollywood knows that a good story makes money, so why can’t businesses adopt the same method? All good stories need substance, and in the business world, data is your substance.

 

Beginning: analyze your business data

Back in 1917, just before Ernest Rutherford split the atom, the world was under the impression that the atom was the smallest thing in the universe. Split the atom and we find neutrons, electrons, protons, nuclei, quarks – you get the idea. Upon this fascinating discovery we found out that even the smallest thing can be analyzed further. This analysis then provides further questions; what is the purpose of a neutron? Why is it even there? What’s the history surrounding it? Only through analysis can we answer these questions and begin the story of the atom.

My point in this physics lesson is that your business data is no different, apart from the lack of neutrons, protons etc. Instead, you have mountains of data stored in your back office system which you think can only be used to tell you who’s purchased a product last week. By using advancements in technology, however, you can further analyze your business’ data by drilling down into what really matters. For example, over the past year customer X has slowly been buying less from you but you don’t know why. What is the story of that first point when your customer’s sales were slipping? Only through analysis can this be found and give you an objective. Every objective is the start of a journey and every journey has a beginning, middle and end.

Now you know where your story starts, it’s time to tell it.

Middle: Draw direct connections between the data analysis and the human element

Your story doesn’t end just because you have found your objective. Now is the time to communicate your benefits to your customer effectively. Ask about their concerns, educate them on your products and be a source of expert advice. Once you have their interest, you can tell your story using your data analysis as the ‘why’ and then combining this with case studies. This direct connection shows how your data insights have a real effect with real people. Every good story has a main character, right?

For instance, you could analyze a huge amount of data to predict weather patterns and understand why these patterns emerge. By mixing this data with farmer’s knowledge of the local terrain, you will start to build up a complete picture of what the weather will be like. So instead of the Met Office giving you hard facts, you’ll be getting the human element; that emotional attachment that every story needs. It’s exactly the same thing that journalists have perfected by making human experiences the face of the story, whilst using available data to talk about the broader context of that story.

End: Connect with your audience

Your story, your selling of the dream, needs to be powerful by connecting directly with your customer, whether it is emotional, factual and hopefully because they found it interesting and wanted to learn more. Your story has to be relevant and simple. Presenting massive amounts of data in a digestible way can be difficult; the hardest part is finding what the main focus of the story should be to get your point across. A single storyline/benefit told in a compelling way is far more engaging than multiple ones that lose track of the main plot.

A great way to connect with your audience is by allowing them to interact with the story or better still letting them visualize an ending themselves. Plant the seed in their mind and let them sell your product to themselves.

Using Big Data to tell compelling stories can only happen if you don’t lose sight of what makes a good story in the first place and marry that data analysis with human insights into the how’s, the why’s and the cultural patterns that data can’t provide.

Start your Big Data story with sales-i and see where the journey will take you.

Written By -

I'm the Marketing Manager here at sales-i and being in marketing I obviously love crayons and of course I have a toy Chewbacca on my desk (fully equipped with the 'Maaaaaarh' noise! I have worked in the technology industry for over 7 years and have a good grasp on what's happening in the industry. I also enjoy* the technical side of software development. *The term 'enjoy' relates to the very few occasions where the techy side actually goes to plan, otherwise replace with the term 'gets frustrated'.

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