7 Tips For Delivering Better Analytics Recommendations
As an analyst, your value is not just in the data you deliver, but in the insight and recommendations you can provide. But what is an analyst to do when those recommendations seem to fall on deaf ears?
1. Make sure they’re good
Too often, analysts’ “recommendations” are essentially just half-baked (or even downright meaningless) ideas. This is commonly due to poor process, and expectation setting between the business and analytics team. If the business expects “monthly recommendations”, analysts will feel pressured to just come up with something. But what ends up getting delivered is typically low value.
The best way to overcome this is to work with the business to clearly set expectations. Recommendations will not be delivered “on schedule”, but when there is a valuable recommendation to be made.
2. Make sure you mean it
Are you just throwing out ideas? Or do you truly believe they are an opportunity to drive revenue, or improve the experience? Product Managers have to stand by their recommendations, and be willing to answer to initiatives that don’t work. Make sure you would be willing to do the same!
3. Involve the business
Another good way to have your recommendations fall on deaf ears is if they 1) Aren’t in line with current goals / objectives; or 2) Have already been proposed (and possibly even discussed and dismissed!)
Before you just throw an idea out there, discuss it with the business. (We analysts are quick to fault the business for not involving us, but should remember this applies both ways!) This should be a collaborative process, involving both the business perspective and data to validate and quantify.
4. Let the data drive the recommendation
It is typically more powerful (and less political…!) to use language like, “The data suggests that…” rather than “I propose that…”
5. Consider your distribution method
The comments section of a dashboard or report is not the place for solid, well thought out recommendations. If the recommendation is valuable, reconsider your delivery methods. A short (or even informal) meeting or proposal is likely to get more attention than the footnote of a report.
6. Find the right receiver
Think strategically about who you present your idea to. The appropriate receiver depends on the idea, the organisation (and its politics…) and the personalities of the individuals! But don’t assume the only “right” person is at the top. Sometimes your manager, or a more hands-on, tactical stakeholder, may be better able to bring the recommendation into reality. Critically evaluate the appropriate audience is, before proposing it to just anyone.
Keep in mind too: Depending on who your idea gets presented to, you should vary the method and level of detail you present. You wouldn’t expect your CMO to walk through every data point and assumption of your model! But your hands-on marketer might want to go through and discuss (and adjust!) each and every assumption.
7. Provide an estimate of the potential revenue impact
In terms of importance, this could easily be Tip #1. However, it’s also important enough for an entire post! Stay tuned …
What about you?
What have you found effective in delivering recommendations? Share your tips in the comments!