Are you looking to boost your data literacy?
It’s okay if you’re asking yourself what that even means or how you even start to go about becoming data literate.
Data literacy is the ability to read, analyze, and understand data that enables you to make more informed decisions and conduct a course of action based on the information found in these numbers.
From the point of view of doing business, working without the guise of data isn’t far from blindly throwing darts at the board in hopes that something sticks. Bullseye or otherwise.
Data is critical to understanding successes and shortcomings in your business strategy. It helps define your path forward to ensure that the journey is as smooth as it can be.
With that said, data literacy isn’t as easy as pulling an analytics report and taking a glance at the numbers. That’s like reading all the words in a book and not being able to articulate to somebody what the book was about. They’re just words if no comprehension is happening, and with analytics reports, it’s just a bunch of numbers if you don’t know what story the numbers are trying to tell. Some data is more valuable or relevant to your company than other metric points, and it’s not always obvious what will be useful for pushing your business forward and what should be filtered out to gain that keen understanding. Clean data matters. Understanding how to get clean data is a big part of why we’re here talking about this right now.
If you need help, that’s cool! Rest assured, you’re not alone. According to Qlik, data shows (see what we did there?) that only 20% of business leaders and full-time workers are data literate.
Table of contents
Where to get started in your data literacy journey
HubSpot makes it easier to manage your company’s data and initiate a level of literacy that enables you to:
- Ask questions and find subsequent answers from your (clean) data.
- Have access to the helpful tools to effectively visualize your results.
- Share conclusions with a broader audience, and create a supporting narrative around your findings.
In essence, being data literate allows you to effectively support your business from the operative standpoint. It makes you a better advocate and communicator for the business when it comes to answering data-driven questions from stakeholders, employees, and end-users alike.
Here are a few questions to keep in mind when you start to look at your data:
- Where is your data coming from?
- How is your data being collected?
- How is your data being analyzed and applied?
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to finding the answers to these questions, that’s ok!
If data literacy isn’t something you’ve mastered or even mustered up a firm entrance into yet, you’re not alone. Research shows that 70% of business leaders and full-time workers wish to improve their data skillset (again, according to Qlik).
The core competencies of data literacy
Whether you’re looking at data from the last quarter or the last year, the process is similar when it comes to getting started and figuring out how to best utilize it to grow your business. Let’s break down what the core competencies of data literacy are.
The first piece of understanding data is having data with which to understand. That’s a mouthful; we apologize. But, it’s the core of any business’s marketing strategy. Cultivate contacts. In order to have a functioning business, you need an audience with which to nurture, convert into customers, and if you’ve done things well, those customers will become brand advocates. Think about your flywheel. How is it operating? You need people in there for it to work at all, so the first piece of the equation here is collecting people to fuel data.
Once you’ve got people “in the door” how are you managing their engagements with your brand? More simply, are you managing their engagements with your brand? If you’re not, there’s a whole different discussion to be had here, but with the assumption that you are, what type of CRM are you using? Managing your contacts is a crucial piece of the data literacy puzzle, as you’ll want something that is designed to organize data for intuitive accessibility and ease of search/filtering so that you can cull data that makes sense for the applicable metric or question you’re looking to solve or understand better. We use HubSpot here at Raka, and, as a diamond solutions partner, we’re well suited to help you navigate the platform to help keep your business on track and data literate.
You’ve collected contacts; you’ve got them in a CRM platform that works for your management needs, now you’re primed to start reading the reports you cultivate from these efforts. How are your contacts behaving? How are they engaging with your brand? How can you make your marketing and sales initiatives an efficient and well-oiled machine (like the flywheel)? When considering the answer to these questions, let’s just start at the top. How are you evaluating this information currently? Reporting is crucial. Without it, your marketing and sales processes are all a matter of chance, which really isn’t a great way to manage a business at the outset. The analytics tools, dashboards, and modes with which you can create reports in HubSpot are robust and help you tell a story built on what this particular story is all about: DATA. Data helps you answer an endless amount of questions that are the linchpins holding your business together, along with holding invaluable insights into how to best position yourself for future engagement and successes. When you start to understand the value of evaluation and reporting, you’re well on your way to being data literate.
Alright, now that you’ve got your reporting in place, where do you take it from here? Data is only valuable if you put it into play. Action is imperative.
“There is a need for reporting, but reporting alone is not enough. If you’re only doing reporting you’re behind already. Unless your reporting is smart and agile, you’re behind. You’re a laggard.” – Cindi Howson, ThoughtSpot
Take what the data shows and apply it to your business to push your operative mission forward. Data doesn’t lie. It’s a hard fact (or facts). It can be cold, but if you’re actively engaging with the lessons it provides, it can be a warm welcome to an open door of future success. Data gives you the means to drive informed business decisions and offer optimized experiences to help net more customers and better delight the ones you already have.
Think of data as the fuel for your business strategy (from the marketing and sales perspective); without it, you’re left hitchhiking and hoping that whoever is driving the vehicle that takes a chance on picking you up can get you close; which often, isn’t close enough. Don’t leave it to chance. Leave it to data.