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Storytelling With Data

Use Data To Tell The Story Of Your Marketing Efforts

No matter who you are or what you do, I’m willing to bet data plays a part in your day-to-day. Measurements, predictions, categorizing–it’s everywhere.

We all know that great feeling that comes from sitting in a monthly meeting and hearing your boss say “over the last few months, we have increased revenue!”. For some, the feeling is excitement and anticipation of a bigger paycheck–but for us at Pinckney it’s a feeling of victory! And we get excited about showing off that victory.

Data allows us the opportunity to paint a picture of our success–a way for people to really see our how we did it. But it should also be noted that while data can show where you won, it also shows where you lost. This creates a good opportunity to learn from your data!

As an Operations Manager at Pinckney Marketing, I’m no stranger to data. I do understand, however, that learning how to tell a data story can be tricky. I suggest you keep your numbers and reports clear, accurate, and understandable. Once you do, you’ll be on your way to great storytelling with data.

Data storytelling starts with organization

First, you’ll need to determine the type of data you are collecting before you determine the type of visualization to pair it with.

Four types of measuring data:

  1. Quantitative – numerical values being counted or measured.
  2. Discrete – only certain values are possible (there is a finite number of possibilities).
  3. Continuous – any value that lies within a range.
  4. Categorical – sorting values according to categories or groups.

After you figure out the type of data being measured, then you’ll need to decide how to show the relationships.

There are seven types of data relationships:

  1. Nominal – comparing numerical values to categories.
  2. Time-series – change in value over time.
  3. Correlation – two or more variables to demonstrate positive or negative correlation with each other.
  4. Ranking – shows how values relate to each other.
  5. Deviation – how data deviate from each other or how far from the average.
  6. Distribution – how data is distributed around a central value.
  7. Part-to-whole – a small portion of data compared to the larger whole.

Data storytelling needs visuals.

Story Books have illustrations and your data should tell a story! Your data storybook should have charts, graphs, and infographics.

It’s important that you choose the best type of visual to display your data. Once you’ve gathered gather and organized the information you’d like to present, you should then assess the situation. How would this data be best represented?

There are seven types of charts to display your data:

  1. Bar charts – best when used showing change over time or comparisons.
  2. Pie Charts – part to whole comparisons with discrete or continuous data.
  3. Line charts – help show trends, increases, or decreases.
  4. Area charts – shows volume over time.
  5. Scatter plots – a correlation in large amounts of data between two variables.
  6. Bubble charts – displays numerical comparisons or ranking relationships.
  7. Heat maps – display categorical data using intensity of color to represent values of areas.

Not only does data make it easier to understand trends, gains, and losses, but it helps us paint a picture of what’s actually happening. We all know the saying, “seeing is believing.”  That’s just as true when it comes to data storytelling!

Note: Once you’ve collected, organized, identified relationships, and displayed your data, be sure that the way you’re displaying it makes sense. Misrepresented data cannot only confuse your readers, but it can hurt your credibility too.

Remember–data is everywhere, but not everyone communicates data the same. You must know what you are looking for and what data you want to stand out in order to drive growth for your company! Maybe it’s more traffic, maybe it’s more customers, or maybe it’s more revenue.

No matter what it is you’re looking to improve, data can be an extremely effective tool!

Here at Pinckney Marketing, we believe in a wholesome, well-rounded approach to marketing.

Download our free Marketing 101 Checklist  to see step-by-step how to achieve the perfect marketing campaign.