/ Why Telling Stories Is Good Business Practice

Storytelling is the conveying of events—at least, that’s what Wikipedia says. I would amend it to say that storytelling is the conveying of events that bring about a specific change. If there’s nothing dynamic, then there’s no story. It’s just a statement.

Business leaders have enough statements. They get financial statements, sales stats, marketing results, and so on. But business leaders don’t often get the full story—what happened, why it happened, and how it might happen again.

Until business leaders know the reasons why, they can’t make accurate decisions to produce a better end result.

Here’s a retail example:

  • Digital camera sales are down.

That’s not a story. That’s a statement, and it’s clearly insufficient. When executives learn that that sales are down, there is nothing that can be done with that information alone. Business leaders need more. Let’s try again.

  • Digital camera sales are down, and marketing hasn’t experienced a change in traffic from their online campaigns.

Now we have more info, but there’s still no dynamic. There’s also virtually no connection between the digital camera sales and the marketing metrics. You can infer a connection, but it’s neither implied nor explained. Let’s take one more pass:

  • Digital camera sales are down, because there was an error in the supply chain that stopped the cameras from being stocked. The sales department wasn’t aware of the error, and therefore did not alert marketing to pause the campaign. When sales discovered that revenue had dropped and customer complaints had risen, they alerted the fulfillment department, which discovered the error. Marketing has now paused its campaign until a new shipment can be delivered.

The full story makes all the difference—and it gives you a chance to make necessary adjustments.

But the story of what happened in this scenario reveals a deeper layer of business practices that need to be improved: the inherent lack of communication when information falls between departmental cracks. What if all stakeholders had access to the information they needed in real time—marketing having access to fulfillment stats, sales having information on marketing campaigns, and fulfillment being connecting to sales data, all without sending out a single spreadsheet?

Business professionals need to be able to get the full story out of their data so that they can get accurate insights and make better decisions. When you get the full story behind the numbers, you can capitalize on more opportunities than just the situation at hand.

If you’re interested in getting better insights from your data, download our complimentary whitepaper, “4 Ways Retailers Can Beat The Competition (With Data They Already Have).”

Tags: Analytics, data