Marketing is shifting and, with it, the priorities of marketers and how we work. Today, with Big Data, AI, predictive modeling and a slew of new tools to help us better understand our customer, our decisions are better informed than ever before.

However, utilizing and analyzing data doesn’t come easy for all marketers. After all, that might have been a reason so many of us chose the profession to begin with—the absence of number crunching and Excel spreadsheets. So how do you train your team to become more data minded regardless of their role?

  1. Make it safe

For some people, one of the hardest things to do is admit you don’t know something. Talk candidly with your staff about their comfort level using data in their day-to-day work. Point out instances where they are already using data to make decisions. This way, they will feel comfortable asking questions about how to better utilize data and they will likely gain confidence when they realize they know more than they thought.

  1. Dip their toes in the water

Introduce them to Google Analytics, a social media analysis tool like Sprout Social or Hootsuite, or an email marketing tool like Constant Contact—something they don’t use already but that you have in your marketing stack that uses data and produces reports. Give them a short tutorial and have them do some tutorials on their own before playing around in the back end to become acclimated. It’s amazing what exposure to a tool will do to increase comfort level and pique interest.

  1. Use your resources

If you’re fortunate enough to work for a company that has a data analytics, market research, accounting or operations team, tap into those resources. Ask them to partner with your employees on some of their work, or share best practices. These groups tend to bring a data-driven mindset to everything they do and can help instill that into your staff. If possible, ask them to host Lunch and Learns on topics they know well. For example, if Excel is a weak skill for your team but that’s what’s used to analyze data, cover V Look Ups one week and Pivot Tables the next.

  1. Try new products

If you’re tired of all the sales calls from analytics companies, task your team with vetting vendors. It will empower them to make decisions, while simultaneously exposing them to new tools and forcing them to learn a new type of analysis. You could end up with a great new tool as a result

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  1. Have data play a role in team meetings

Begin to incorporate data in your team meetings. If necessary, start small. Have the content team share how the blog is performing, covering views and comments. Have the social media team share engagement and reach numbers. Leave time for questions and ensure staff understands the information that is being discussed. Then, move toward incorporating data into the decision making process. Have staff present data as ammunition in their argument for why a decision should or shouldn’t be made.

This article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of Direct Marketing.


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Jessica Schaeffer

Jessica Schaeffer is director of marketing & communications at LaSalle Network, a staffing, recruiting culture firm honored with more than 70 culture and revenue-based awards. Schaeffer has been at LaSalle Network for six years and is on the board of directors for the American Marketing Association.

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