How CMOs Can Find the Loch Ness Monster in their Data Lake

Domo's Adam Cordner explores the benefits of telling a story with your data.

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We all know that marketing works. Social media presence or a better a digital strategy can engage customers in a way that few other methods do.

But how do you show this information to a sceptic? Or to encourage more investment? Displaying the ROI through graphs and tables is increasingly difficult if you don’t have the data to support it.

Adam Cordner, Senior Solutions Consultant at Domo, shared his insights with Sydney’s leaders in marketing at last week’s CMO Disrupt, Sydney and explored “how to tell a story with data”.

Cordner explained that the best way to do this is by having a ‘single customer view’, where all the information about customers can be known in one place. However, visualising the data needs an author to read and write the data like a book.

Adam Cordner tells the audience "how to tell a story" with data.
Adam Cordner tells the audience “how to tell a story” with data.

Right now, when it comes to accessing data, we’re stuck in old habits as the rest of the world progresses. Cordner says that “data should be available like it’s your bank account.”

When it comes to finding out your balance on your bank, or quickly paying people back for the meal they paid for last night, the smartphone makes all this information easily accessible in one place.

However, the way data is accessed in the present is similar to the days of old, where you had to call your bank to find out your account details.

“Right now, we’re ringing up to find out our balance, and then we’re waiting to find out our actual available balance. But we should be able to go into things and find out what it is.”

“Right now, we’re ringing up to find out our balance, and then we’re waiting to find out our actual available balance. But we should be able to go into things and find out what it is.”

– Adam Cordner, DOMO

Cordner says that when most companies look at data in their ‘data lakes’ – raw data that has not been collated – they are unable to really show proof that their strategies are working, even though they know they are.

Just like the Loch Ness monster, Cordner says he knows the evidence of ROI is there, but hidden in his own data lake.

“You know the ROI is there, but then I have to manipulate it into a PowerPoint and present it to the board.”

To better understand this data, Cordner shows us a different metaphor, this time a ‘data forest’ where the raw data begins.

Although slightly detrimental to the environment, he implores to turn the forest into a library, full of organised books. Cordner says this is the key to achieving a simple visualisation of data.

“The thought process is: I do have data everywhere, but I need to think of it like a tree, and I need to make that data available so I can begin to understand it,” he said.

Cordner suggested three crucial solutions that are a necessity in being able to tell a clear story with your data:

  1. You need a data warehouse – A place where you can store all your data. For large companies, this might be a server halfway across the world. For startups, it might just be a laptop. Regardless, having a place where all the data can be accessed easily is essential.
  2. Join the information together – Collating all the data available requires you to be able to extract, transform and load the data from your source systems onto your data warehouse.
  3. Visualisation – This is a gauge on how your strategies are progressing as well as how to use the data going forward for future opportunities. “A place to view and collaborate on the insights,” says Cordner.

These solutions alongside an understanding across the entire organisation of the goals and strategies for progression can achieve a single customer view.