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CEB, Now Gartner Sales and Marketing Summit – Day 2

October 19, 2017

Posted by Taylor Mecham

Posted in Product Marketing, Sales, Why LeveragePoint?

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Hi, again! I’m back, but this time with Day 2 under my belt. Today I saw continued themes of digital transformation, marketing and sales alignment, and evolving buying behavior. However, a surprise (well, for me) theme emerged that spoke directly to so many internal discussions we’ve been having at LeveragePoint. That theme was storytelling.

Brent Dykes of DOMO, hosted an incredible session entitled, “Make Your Data More Compelling with Stories,” and provided the audience with a plethora of quotes and insights. Before I review all of that, let’s start with Brent’s definition of Data Storytelling:

A structured approach for communicating data insights more effectively to an audience using narrative elements and data visualizations.

Now, let’s bring on the quotes!

  • The ability to take data – to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate it – that’s going to be a hugely important skill in the next decades.” (Hal Varian, Chief Economist at Google)
  • Numbers have an important story to tell. They rely on you to give them a clear and convincing voice.” (Stephen Few, Data Vix Expert)
  • Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.” (Robert McKee, Professor)
  • If the statistics are boring, you’ve got the wrong numbers.” (Edward Tufte, Data Viz Expert) …. or the wrong audience.

Here’s the plethora of insights I was talking about:

  • There is psychology associated with data storytelling:
    • Humans hear statistics, but they feel stories.
    • A lot of the time when people are approached with data, we are on the defensive; we are critical and skeptical. We don’t want to be fooled by the data. However, as soon as we position that same data as a story, the guards come down.
    • More Memorable: 5% statistics vs. 63% stories
    • More Persuasive: $1.14 statistics vs. $2.38 stories
  • The 3 keys to data storytelling are narrative, visuals, & data.
    • Explain: Narrative + Data
    • Enlighten: Data + Visuals
    • Engage: Narrative + Visuals
  • 6 Steps for Better Visual Storytelling:
    1. Identify the right data: align your data to your message
    2. Choose the right visualizations: all charts are not created equal
    3. Calibrate visuals to your message: anticipate your audience’s comparison needs
    4. Remove unnecessary noise: don’t overwhelm your audience needlessly
    5. Focus attention on what’s important: highlight what matters with color & text, and use “content staging” aka animation to reveal insights
    6. Make your data accessible and engaging: use direct labels to reduce the effort required to interpret your data

Tune in tomorrow for my final Summit Summary (I definitely should have used that as this post series’ title, ugh), and in the meantime learn how LeveragePoint made storytelling a focal point of our January 2017 tool release.

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