You only thought you were using data to make smart decisions.
Understanding how to use data to support institutional planning and growth requires talents and skills that are learned and practiced and honed over time. All these tech companies selling tools and platforms into our systems want leadership to believe that all is simple, clear, and that their dashboards will transform your operational planning and decision making. Wondrous growth is just a click or two ahead. If only.
You’ve tried to create a self-serve data buffet for your leadership team so that they can dive in on their own and make informed decisions.
But…what if they’re not?
We mean, you gave your full team access to the tools with loads of features and data reporting. In the realm of marketing, your CRM captures and reports on email open rates, click through rates, conversion rates, and so much more. Your marketing dashboard tools pull data from Facebook’s Business Manager and Google Analytics (with updates to GA4 that your team is scrambling to implement and fine tune as you read this).
We all want to eke every last drop of data from the platforms available to us now.
Truth is, in the battle of data informed decisions vs human nature, human nature usually wins. Reality: creating, viewing, and understanding reports is not as simple as the tech vendors tell you it is.
Many of your leadership team are simply not data people. They may grab some of the data that supports their ideas, but ignore relevant data that would add more insight, nuance, or might even negate their suppositions.
What we have seen over the last decade is that many organizations are assuming their team’s new access to data dashboards and tools will naturally result in effective use of those tools. Often leaders simply don’t prioritize learning the necessary bells and whistles in the midst of other important deadlines. Still others can’t wrap their heads around it. They have other skills that your institution values and data analysis/interpretation is simply not one of them.
Simple test: Your marketing dashboard provides you with your email open rate monthly average. Among your other standard emails last month, on the 10th your team sent a mass email to a newly purchased, cold email list. What is worth reporting on to your leadership team? How can the data available inform your decisions and actions?
Read on to learn more about what self-service data is, why it can be useful, and how to actually make it work for you. (Oh, and we answer the question about the email open rates).