Many people like the idea of having a data-driven culture, but they don’t know where to start in creating one for their organization. It’s just like any philosophy. The idea sounds amazing, but implementing it is a completely different story. With any grandiose, pie-in-the-sky idea that can inspire change, you need a plan to make things happen. Don’t panic or feel overwhelmed. The key is to start small, and I’ve got some tips to help you on this journey of creating a data-driven culture for your organization. Here are my top 5 pieces of advice:

  1. Brag about your successes. 

    When you put blood, sweat, and tears into your work, and a project comes out as being successful, you shouldn’t sweep that under the rug. You should brag about it! So what makes bragging rights even better? Having data to back you up and prove your win. For example, if you’re a marketer running campaigns, start an email chain that you publish once a month, displaying the best campaign of that month. You could also make a competition out of it by displaying the “greatest hits” of the month where you rank the best campaigns and share those results within your company. The goal here is to drive visibility to the idea of numbers, and how sharing performance metrics can make a big impact. When people in your organization start to see those numbers, they’ll be motivated to get their campaigns on top.
  2. Display dashboards in the office.

    People love visuals, so play that up to your advantage. If you have TVs in the office, you can run dashboards on them all day long and put important data on display. You may be wondering what kind of data you should display. It is best practice to make your dashboards relevant to specific teams, but in larger common areas, try using a more high-level approach. Promote dashboards that show data about site performance for your organization, up-to-date customer conversion rates, and even how that bottom line is being impacted. Knowledge is power, so keep your teams informed and give them the visibility they may not be privy to. Post those top-level business metrics for your company to see.
  3. Implement a 30-day challenge.

    Everyone loves a good challenge, and this 30-day one with your coworkers will help you gain incredible insights into your decision-making process. Grab a journal, and carry it around with you everywhere you go. Every time you make a decision for a project, write that decision down in the journal. Don’t focus on the specifics of what you decided though. Simply track that you made a decision, and what that decision was about. After those 30 days, you should have a list of all the decisions you’ve made, and you look at those decisions and ask yourself how you can incorporate data into that decision-making process. Basically, you are doing a very practical self-audit. The end goal is to identify data you need to help you make better decisions. You’ll need to aggregate the data and build reports, which will create a rhythm where you use data to make all of your decisions. May the amount of data-driven decisions made be ever in your favor.
  4. Challenge your thinking.

    This tip primarily focuses on just you- the way you think and your own processes. A fundamental element of becoming data-driven is dissecting the way you work and challenging paradigms that exist within your current culture. If you don’t do that, you aren’t becoming data-driven. The best way to go about challenging your thinking is to ask yourself questions, but not in a subversive way. Maybe, “What’s my thinking behind this or my goal?” or “What strategy is behind this campaign?” or “What value can this provide?” By asking these questions, you’ll have some real light-bulb moments. Albert Einstein said it well, and he was a pretty smart dude, so I would listen to him. “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
  5. Embrace new learning opportunities.

    There are plenty of companies that are already along this journey of building a data-driven culture, or companies that help people get there (like us!). The amount of information out there is incredible. There are tons of books to read, influencing podcasts, webinars, conferences, and other sources to help broaden your perspective. Be open to learning from others.



Data is the new standard of business. Challenging assumptions and proving things with reality and numbers (data) instead of going with a gut feeling has been proven to lead to success. However, creating a data-driven culture can be too conceptual and difficult to comprehend when you tackle it from a whole perspective. The tips I’ve given above can help break down the process and give you practical steps to help create change within your organization.

If you’re trying to figure out what’s next, or what else you can do to create a data-driven culture, I know a group of people who literally work on this all day. Contact us at Cognetik, and we’ll help get you started. Remember, it takes just one person to create change. My main piece of advice for you? Channel your inner Gandhi. Be the change you want to see in the world (or your organization). Starting small is key.

About the author

Jon Boone

Jon Boone
Jon is a digital analyst with an exuberant amount of passion for the digital analytics industry. He works with our analytics team to move clients out of reporting and into actionable insights. He believes in the power of measuring results and hopes to one day integrate data-driven philosophies with the potential of social entrepreneurship.

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