In the last post on repurposing analytics, I talked about how you can get extra mileage out of your marketing data. It’s a smart move that allows you to continue to work with the numbers you’ve invested a lot of time and resources into collecting. Yet, repurposing data is more than just a business efficiency; it’s about humanizing data.

Humanizing your data does one key thing: it makes your team less afraid to embrace it. Typically, marketers are exceptionally talented when it comes, well, the marketing. They’re great with the creative aspect for running a business. However, they’re not always that well-versed with nuts and bolts data. You may have people on your team that are hesitant or uncomfortable with engaging data. They may feel clumsy about it which means that you’re not getting the most out of your teams’ potential.

There are a few ways you can change that. To start, you can give your team an exercise in visualizing data. Have them take monthly data and create a small infographic design (a pen to paper sketch is fine). Give them about 30 minutes in a meeting room to work on this on their own, and then come together to review each other’s idea and formulate a final visual they can share with the rest of the company. If you can get them to present it to the company during the weekly meeting – even better.

It sounds like classroom techniques because it is. You want to get your team to engage the data in a way that any student engages a new subject to get comfortable with it. But beyond that, there are other things you can do to prepare your team and prevent them from falling short on understanding marketing data.

Ideally, I’d say an honest conversation is best. Yet, most team members (even the smarter ones) will be hesitant to admit they don’t know something that technically is their job. Get around this problem by treating it like they’re in school again. Give them a quiz on marketing data. If you can’t find one or make one up, then give them a set of data and ask them to offer a one page summary highlighting key points. See what key points they’re identifying and which ones their missing; which ones they’re short one understanding fully and which ones they’re failing all together. From that you’ll have a good baseline.

There are other things you can do as well, including attending webinars, online courses and industry events. These are great opportunities to brush up skills, gain exposure, and open the floor to honest conversations around data.

Making the pitch to higher ups might be more difficult. They might not understand why you need to invest more time in data or training the team. If that’s your case, remind that that your marketing data is best described as the left valve of the heart of your business. It’s not entirely your business, but at the same time your business doesn’t function well without it. That being the case, doesn’t it make sense to be more inclusive in how we see data, approach it, and integrate it into an overall business framework?