How to Craft a Narrative Through Statistics - DeanHouston+

Inspire, Research & Analysis, Strategic Marketing

How to Craft a Narrative Through Statistics

We live in a world of numbers. Their impact is massive and omnipresent. On their own, however, these numbers are meaningless – but within context, they can create a narrative that guides us. In business, this narrative is called analytical reporting, and it’s the process of measuring, analyzing, and managing a marketing strategy’s performance to maximize effectiveness and optimize return on investment (ROI).

The simple fact is that the true value of measurement and reporting isn’t the raw data – it is how you use this data that matters. This is the lifeblood of marketing analytics – gathering raw data and turning it into actionable items. Additionally, this data can be used to help evaluate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and measure how well you’re meeting your goals.

Below are just a few real-world examples of these techniques in practice.

1. Creating Buyer Personas

When devising a marketing or advertising campaign, it is common practice to create a “buyer persona,” which is a generalized representation of an ideal customer. These buyer personas are intended to help marketers relate to their customers on a more personal level, and are critical to crafting content, developing new products, and creating sales strategies.

While creating a buyer persona prior to the start of any marketing campaign is a must, it is also common practice to reevaluate your personas after the campaign. Using the metrics discovered throughout the duration of the project will help you determine a more accurate persona. In turn, this will help ensure any future campaigns are targeted towards the correct audience, which should, ultimately, increase campaign ROI.

For example, one of the best ways to help determine a buyer persona is by measuring the results of an online advertising campaign. What ads received the most clicks? Where were the ads most effective? Why did some ads fail? The starting point to answering these questions can be found in the campaign data. By analyzing this data – and remembering to humanize it and present it as a story rather than raw data – you should be able to answer the what, where and why of the campaign and determine success or failure. This success or failure should then be used to reevaluate your buyer personas and make some critical decisions about the overall campaign.

2. Use Charts and Diagrams to Create Narrative

Statistics can be a marketer’s best friend – and also their worst nightmare. An arbitrary set of percentages and statistics will cause even the keenest observer’s eyes to gloss over, creating more confusion than comprehension. But when used properly, statistics can show a change in ways that words cannot.

By using charts or diagrams, you are able to show patterns and history of a topic, in which a narrative can be formed or presented.

A great example of this is tracking social media reach. What percentage of customers is coming from Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn? What content is receiving the most engagement? When is the best time of day to post? These analytics can all be found in the charts and diagrams provided from each social media channel.

However, reviewing these statistics alone does not correlate into any actionable items. The data must be turned into a narrative in order to better show change over time and create a more interesting account of the information presented. This easy-to-understand narrative will then allow future social media funds to be dedicated to platforms that will have a greater impact, helping create a more productive campaign from the start. Ultimately, if you know which channel is working the best for your business, you can more efficiently and effectively focus your social marketing efforts.

Arming yourself with a multitude of analytics is only half the battle. As previously mentioned, without context, these numbers are just numbers, and can’t be turned into anything meaningful. So all your data must be analyzed. By doing so, you’ll be able to better prove your marketing campaign is working while maximizing effectiveness and optimizing ROI.

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