Data Literacy Is Essential For Your Success. Read This To Find Out Why.

Published on May 20, 2021
Liviu Moroianu
Head of Research at Petrus

Today, most professionals in most businesses are expected to develop correct knowledge and critical thinking in working with data. Marketing, communications and reporting specialists, HR experts and data journalists are just a few examples of professionals who are required to be data savvy. They often need to produce, own and disseminate insights and information that is accurate, robust, visual, engaging and inspiring.

Want a thriving business or career? Data Literacy may be your best bet to grow towards 2025.

Since the current pace of change is unprecedented, it has become increasingly important for professionals in all areas to cultivate the habit and ability to supply and use quality research, analytics and data reporting.

“A marketer can do one of two mistakes. One is not doing research and the other one is doing (bad) research.” My former boss, Eddie (1969-2017)

Complete understanding of your data is essential for extracting meaningful insights and converting them into strategy-endorsing messages. Knowing good quality data outputs from bad ones helps to create good data briefs, save money and leverage your data to its full potential. When presenting actionable findings in a structured and compelling way, editorial-quality insights and data visualizations are known to facilitate understanding and boost engagement.

6 Reasons to Embrace Data Literacy

Currently, you may attain data literacy and critical thinking in using data through quick and applicable guidance. Spending years and years on training technical data skills is not something you may be interested in doing. Yet, knowing good data from bad data is.

1. Data is an asset and money often "cost" a lot.

Probably the most important part in your data literacy journey is handling data as an asset. This is not about data acquisition at a technical collection level or master data management frameworks. One needs to ingrain the right mindset and learn the principles of looking at data as an asset and systematically feed that data into decision making processes. Smart data buying decisions and savvy data management make a strong case towards getting data literate.

2. A good data proposal is just like a contract with extra steps.

Savvy data acquisitions require great craftmanship in recognizing a great offer. Knowing all the intricate details of a successful research plan is very important. Learn to standardize competing offers from suppliers to a common denominator while keeping in mind the robustness of results. Get in the habit of sensing when a proposal is clear, accurate and on brief even while rocking a professional look and feel.

3. Some say it is better to destroy one's own errors than those of others.

Confidence in data is of utmost importance for both data professionals and clients. Diligence is required in following guidelines and quality assurance protocols. Make no mistake, neglecting this may have serious, or at least unpleasant, consequences for everyone involved. As a data-wielding professional you need to know how to quickly catch faulty data, know what to inquire about in doing so and how to hold a supplier accountable.

4. Information design is a thing.

Once accurate and complete, findings need to be easy to share and easy to understand. A data-driven professional needs to have a clear idea of what needs to be shown and how to show it. Do you need to illustrate a relationship, a comparison, a distribution, evolution, hierarchy, or composition of data? Know the right amount of information to include in your visual and avoid producing stunning visuals with hard to decipher messages. Get familiar with the full anatomy of basic charts! This will enable you to apply fundamental information design principles to complex dashboards, interactive data visualizations and even data art!

5. Nobody has time for that… stuff!

Powerful visualizations are worth 1000 words, however having the right words and telling the right story is vital. This holds especially true as long as you are clear and concise in your wording. Words by themselves are very important and we, as fast-paced professionals, are always in a rush. We tend to quickly sweep through words to find hints of value. Every community uses a code to communicate value and data literate professionals make no exception. Foster familiarity with the code and use the right words to acknowledge the community, accommodate the flow and generate the right amount of tension. Be mindful that it is more about what your audience is prepared to learn and less about what you want to show to your audience.

People often mistake observations for insights and do not see an insight as the articulation of the root cause of an observation.

6. It’s their party and they’ll cry if they want to.

Use functional storytelling to tap into the feelings of your audience. Great deals, backed up by great deliveries need to fit in the narrative and make the right impression. When presenting data, make sure you have a message and not just a dull collection of facts. Learn to connect with your audience and choose the type of journey you want to take your audience through. Finally, understand how to convey emotion, pace your story, and set a subtle call to action.

Be it as an asset, a bargain, an accurate fact, a visual message, a written insight or a compelling story, we constantly transact data and insights as part of what we do. Whatever that is in your case if you need to be better at it, you really need to get fluent in data.

These are my six key reasons. I'd like to hear what are yours.

This is Liviu. In short, the insights guy.

Research & Data Visualization professional with background in management, marketing and advertising. Market Research & Advertising MA with trainer certification. Coordinated insightful research, reports, presentations and white papers with smart data analysis and editorial quality insights. Experienced data projects and data teams manager overseeing all stages from proposal to delivery.

Sign up to a free, email mini-course series on the essentials of data literacy, data storytelling and information design! Get in the right mindset and attain critical thinking skills in using data. The information is so condensed and easy to go through you can literally learn it while sipping your morning coffee. ☕