What Does Data Science Mean to Internal Communications?

June 18, 2015by Gregg ApirianAudience & Insights


What is Big Data?

We have all heard the term Big Data and for the most part, we all recognize this is an industry buzz term with many meanings. To set the record straight, the concept of big data is knowing how to cull through all your data to find actionable insights. Most brands have a plethora of data on their customers, and some have a good amount of data on their employees, but knowing how to translate this information is what the business of big data is all about. If you are working on internal communications, it is time to start embracing the power of data science.

Effective consumer marketing is dependent on data. This data informs marketers about their customer generational segments, behaviors, motivations and frustrations. Making sense of this data leads to evolving your customer journey to provide a seamless brand experience that is simple in nature and engaging where necessary to drive sales, brand affinity, and engagement.

Defining and Managing the Employee Journey

To all employee communication specialists – it is time to follow the same approach to map out and evolve the Employee Experience. If you don’t have any data or enough data to find insights, then step #1 is to expand your internal communications practice to include a data-driven mindset. Start looking for opportunities to collect data and/or capture data.

And what if you have a significant amount of data to work with and you are not sure how to extract insights? First, be honest with yourself if there is a gap in experience on your team. Most brands don’t have internal communications staff trained in mining data for insights. If you are not staffed appropriately, take action by finding the right people or contract partners who have experience and a data-driven skillset. The insights uncovered can lead to achieving your business objectives like driving improved employee engagement, making employer branding more effective at finding and retaining employees, or activate employees around a campaign or event or initiative.

Bringing Your Data Into a Single Source

Another challenge for all brands is the data you have is highly likely coming from multiple sources throughout your organization (people, databases, systems, etc.). Today, there are many web-based platforms for managing data and to effectively use these platforms to find insights. First, you must go through the process of definingyour analytics and reporting requirements. Then, map the best-fit technology solution to your needs. Once you select the technology and made your investment, there could be a significant effort behind merging all your data into thissingle source, including designing dashboard-like user interfaces to assist with digesting data. If you do not do this, managing data could be quite overwhelming considering the process will include a sizable manual labor effort for more than one person.

Data Scientists

The business of data science doesn’t require magicians to produce insights. It requires experienced and trained professionals who not only know how to find insight but who also know how to turn those insights into actionable plans. These are plans that can be measured and optimized to achieve business objectives. Data Scientists are high in demand which makes them both hard to find and expensive. Don’t wait too long to transform you internal communications practice or risk realizing what being a dinosaur means to your business.

Time to Adapt

Data science capabilities enable the delivery of targeted communications that drive action. One reason many brands are behind the curve here is the people managing communications do not have a firm understanding of data-driven marketing and communications. And most people don’t have the experience and skillset to work with the amount of data thatis generated. For internal communications to drive business objectives, the mindset and skillset for data capture and analysis must become part of your practice. If you know you are behind the curve, it is your professional responsibility to your business and fellow employees to adapt to the modern way of thinking about and operating internal communications.

Over my career I have met a lot of very smart people at brands who are capable of adapting or know when to bring in the right expertise to fill their gaps and they continue to achieve their goals. I have also met a lot of people who hide from adapting and these are the business that will not progress as fast or as efficiently as others.

Gregg Apirian

Employee Experience Leader | Marketing, Communications & Technology Expert