For some, the idea of using data to inform decision-making can feel intimidating, particularly for those who don’t consider themselves to have strong analytical skills.

If you can show your team that there are simple, straightforward ways to make a significant impact with data, it will go a long way toward getting your team to use data more often in their day-to-day decision-making.

For example, when Target wanted a tool for reaching pregnant shoppers, they developed a “pregnancy prediction index.” This was not a hard problem to solve nor as intrusive as it would appear as they already had the data. The retailer has a baby gift registry for women who had told Target hat they were pregnant. Studying the shopping behaviors pregnant women helped Target to discern what products they were more likely to buy than non-pregnant customers.

The next step was very simple; women who begin buying these products are likely pregnant and can be targeted. That is good business, not statistical magic. Except Target faced some heat when a series of pregnancy-related coupons prompted a dad to ask some pointed questions of his daughter, who Target had guessed was pregnant before her dad knew. Some patterns are better left private...

Basic statistics are what gives power to the patterns. All you need to do is to teach some savvy team members how to do basic data analytics rather than try to get a data scientist to think about improving the customer experience. The best way to get your team excited about using data is to demystify what is actually going on.


Inspired by: Harvard Business Review - To Get Your Team to Use Data, Demystify It, by Charles Wheelan