datapresentations.jpgWhile the brave new world of big data analytics may help you discover new customer or marketing insights, the old world challenge of communicating findings and recommendations to senior executives remains.

Everyone has a solution. Visualization vendors tout dashboard technologies that pull data from all of your sources and display it beautifully, with segmentation and filtering that enables you to get to the most granular of data points. “Storytelling” has been in vogue at conferences I’ve attended as the messaging technique that gets to the hearts and minds of the most data challenged.

I don’t have an argument with the use of visualization or storytelling, or any tool or approach that helps people use data for guidance. I just rarely see these tools and techniques used with an understanding of their intended audience.

With this in mind, I’m going to share four techniques that will help you reach more people, more effectively than you are today with analytics data.

1. Know the difference between tactical and strategic data

Many organizations, large and small, approach the use of digital analytics the same way -- implement tool, develop reports, send them out and/or provide access to the tool.

These organizations spend most of their time and resources on implementation and report development, and precious little time on putting real thought trying to understand results.

While organizations may be able to get by with this approach if they develop dashboards with metrics that focus on marketing and site optimization goals, it fails miserably when trying to communicate real findings and recommendations to senior executives. And, executive dashboards do not solve this problem. Here’s why:

Creating dashboards for marketing managers, brand managers and content editors is relatively straightforward because the metrics are easily defined and the data generated provides findings that readily suggest actions. Your email test to segment A did better than segment B -- do another email to more prospects like segment A. Search term A resulted in higher conversions than search term B -- buy search term A next month. Article A had more shares than article B -- test more content like article A. The data is all operational and tactical.

What do you present to executives? I think we’re all on board that you don’t present the same data that you would to the marketing team, the granularity isn't of interest and pretty much a waste of time to someone who is running an organization, business unit or an entire program.

2. Understand what drives your organization's strategy

It surprises me that many analytics managers and analysts do not know their organization’s strategic goals and objectives. If they do, they have not figured out how to tie the data that they collect to these goals. And yet at the same time, they wonder how to present their data effectively to senior leadership.