Data Storytelling: The Power of Data Visualization in Marketing

Data Storytelling - The Power of Data Visualization in Marketing

What is data visualization? It’s more than the sum of its
parts, but the standard definition is that it provides a way to
view data to either draw conclusions or tell a story to

Data visualization can help reveal trends, patterns, and
exceptions. It can empower businesses to make more informed,
longer-term decisions as well as communicate with customers and
prospects more effectively. You’re likely familiar with heatmaps,
infographics, bar charts, pie graphs and scatter plots – but
it’s more than these, too. Here’s why data visualization is so
useful in the marketing world.

Make discoveries about users and customers

If you want to reach people, you have to learn about them first.
There are lots of ways to research your likely customers:

  • Dive into website analytics like highest-visited pages, bounce
    rates, and conversion
  • Track marketing campaign results over time in terms of social
    media followers gained, impressions made and traffic
  • Perform keyword research and build a word cloud that shows you
    which search terms are trending and worth targeting.

Data visualization makes it much easier to dive into statistics
like these and pick out correlations and developments you
might’ve missed otherwise. Distilling raw data into useful
visualizations also makes it easier to communicate with colleagues
and decision-makers within your company about your findings, and
for multiple teams to collaborate on shared goals.

Show off complex data

Show off complex data for data visualization


If data visualization helps tell stories, you need to figure out
what kind of data your story needs to really “land” and make
the most significant impact.

The human brain processes images, some say,
60,000 times faster
than it processes text. Let that be all the
motivation you need. But if you need more, know that infographics,
how-to guides, and videos – all highly visual content –

consistently rank high on lists
of the most shareable online
content types.

The obvious place to start is by building visually appealing
graphics which “dress up” the raw numbers describing the
capabilities of your product or service and how its effectiveness,
design, sustainability or performance compares to the competition
– or to last year’s model.

Visualizing data can help customers and clients connect with you
in other ways, too. Think beyond your product and reflect on what
your company does exceptionally: how many people you employ, how
many lives you touch or improve or how much of your earnings you
give back to the community. Do you have a plan to go carbon-neutral
or fossil-fuel-free? Or, perhaps you have created a strategy to
redress your recruitment targeting for greater inclusivity?

Maybe you’ve got an infographic on your hands here – or, you
could build a microsite that illustrates, in real time, how much
clean power your solar installation is generating. There are many
ways your company stands out – and lots of ways to build a visual
story around the numbers. Tell and show the public and your
customers about your journey – and prove through data why you do
things the way you do, and how it adds value to your product

Solicit and digest feedback more easily

There’s another class of data you can visualize, too: direct
customer feedback. This can come to you in many forms:

  • Conduct social media polls
  • Send surveys by email
  • Visualize common phrases and trends from reviews
    and feedback

When any of us take an online poll or fill out a survey,
there’s something immensely satisfying about getting to the end
and being able to immediately see the results. How did our
responses stack up against other people’s? Data visualization can
give your customers an even more rewarding experience and more
immediate feedback. It tells them they’re contributing to making
your products or services better – and that they’re helping you
prioritize your company’s possible next steps.

As a consumer, think about how powerful it could be to get a
walkthrough of the product development process with visual aids,
and to see in imagery rather than text what the trade-off might
look like between two different product features or designs.

In addition to the customer-centric benefits, the
decision-makers within your company will have a way to clearly
understand what customers want, straight from the source. Poring
over customer relationship dashboards and pulling in social media
analytics information can be tedious – but infographics and other
visualization tools can make it easier to plot a course.

How to find out what kind of data is useful

Your company has lots of data types that would translate well to
visualization, but you have to find and organize it first. For a
start, that means categorizing and prioritizing data according to
the source.

First-party data comes from:

  • Direct actions and interactions that occur on your website or
  • Data your customers voluntarily supply, such as geographical
    areas, household details, etc.
  • Data from social media analytics
  • Purchase and subscription information

Second-party data is similar, but it comes from a source other
than your audience:

  • Third-party website analytics
  • Customer surveys
  • Other industry sources

Third-party data includes:

  • Data captured by outside sources and other parties
  • Data purchased on exchanges

The benefits of organizing and categorizing data from these and
other channels, using a data management platform, are clear. The
better-organized and higher-quality your data is, the more
precision you have
while targeting your audience. A heatmap of
geographical distribution can help plan expansions, for example.
Plus, you’ll be able to triangulate and visualize your
audience’s demographics, interests, hobbies and passions – and
channel that data into videos, images, infographics, and
advertisements that speak directly to them and result in more

How to find what data is useful for data visualization

Image Source

Filtering your branding and company message through compelling
data can help you create a powerful narrative. One of the more
exceptional examples of putting data to work in storytelling comes
from Whirlpool. The company sat down with an abundance of organized
data and connected the dots until they saw an opportunity:

  • The company learned that every day, 4,000 minors drop out of
  • Those who leave school early are 40% more likely to be
    unemployed later in life and eight times more likely to go to
  • One of the most frequently named reasons students drop out is
    that they don’t have the means to wash their clothes at home and
    don’t feel confident in their appearance.

As a result of their research, Whirlpool decided to seize the
moment and install clothes washers and dryers in schools around the
country. The company helped kids do
thousands of loads of laundry
in the first year.

This anecdote is an example of where data becomes the story –
and brings real-world visibility, literally, to one potential
solution to a largely unnoticed but socially consequential problem.
Whirlpool sold a lot of washers and dryers in the bargain, of
course, but the community got something back, too, including
greater awareness of trends that had so far gone underreported.


Data visualization lends context and specificity to your
decisions, helps build a case for why the public should choose your
brand over another and results in the design of world-class,
eminently shareable content.

Guest author: From Pittsburgh, PA, Nathan
Sykes is the founder of Finding an Outlet and
writes about business and technology on sites such as BestTechie,
Simple Programmer, and TechTalks.

The post Data Storytelling:
The Power of Data Visualization in Marketing
appeared first on
Jeffbullas’s Blog.

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Data Storytelling: The Power of Data Visualization in Marketing