How to Cultivate a Data-Driven Mindset

President and CEO Lauren Parker shares how our team cultivates a data-driven mindset to create intelligent communications strategies that rely on information and insight - not guts and guessing.

Admit it. Many of us in the communications field ended up here because we convinced ourselves that math wasn’t for us. Stats? Big data? Analytics? That’s for Marketing-with-a-capital-M. We’ll stick with words, thank you very much.

Not so fast.

As the disciplines of communications, marketing, advertising and analytics converge, it’s no longer an option for communications and PR pros to dismiss data from our day-to-day work. More than ever, brands and organizations want intelligent communications strategies that rely on information and insight - not guts and guessing.

At FrazierHeiby, we talk a lot about cultivating a data-driven mindset. This doesn’t mean we require our team to turn into statistical wizards or data scientists. Rather, we encourage everyone to take intentional steps to seek out and apply useful information that can inform our work.

So, what does this look like in practice?

Asking a lot of questions. Why is that? Has it been done before? Is there a better way? We’re constantly asking questions of ourselves, our team and our clients to uncover new and informative approaches for where, when, how and to whom we deploy our campaigns.

Setting aside time to think. We can easily fall into a churn of doing. Sometimes we need a reminder to slow down and think about the ‘why’ behind our actions. We encourage everyone on our team to block time on their calendar each week to research and reflect on their respective clients and determine if there is something new to consider and apply.

Putting information sources to the test. Data-driven communicators recognize that not all information is created equal. It’s important to do your due diligence to ensure the data and information you take in is credible, relevant and timely.

Trusting Beth the librarian. Once a month, I try to pick up a library book that’s recommended by one of the librarians. It’s been one of the most effective ways to introduce myself to topics and trends I wouldn’t ordinarily seek out for myself. Oftentimes, our information vacuums are a one-way street — whether it’s who we follow on social media or what coverage we consume, we can fall into the trap of absorbing only information that’s familiar and relevant to what we already know and approve. In short, go out of your way to ingest a variety of information. You never know when it will serve useful in your profession.

Practicing generosity of information sharing. What goes around comes around. If you find interesting tidbits, be it an academic article on new uses for fungi or an insightful tweet with an astute take on modern art, share that with someone who you think would benefit. It’s likely your network will return the favor.

Cultivating a data-driven mindset isn’t about mastering pivot tables. Rather, it’s about practicing curiosity and actively seeking out information with the aim of more deeply understanding the world around us.