Vital Strategy Question 1: Who is the Audience?

The question that trumps all.

Watch how your audience will inform what your dashboard deliverable looks like and tactics for designing for the four audience types: analytical, amiable, expressive, and competitive.

Hi. This is Ryan with Playfair Data TV and welcome to The Strategy Track. On the Strategy Track, I’m going to be sharing several strategic frameworks that I personally follow in the consulting side of my practice. But before we get to those, I want to start by sharing my two, what I call, vital questions. These are two questions that I ask going into any engagement.

And the first of those kind of trumps everything else. And that question is, who is the audience? The reason this is so important to know is because it’s very much going to inform what my end deliverable looks like. Let me just give you a couple of examples.

If I’m creating something for a C-level executive, I might want to create something that’s very focused, straight to the point, maybe boil the insights right to the top. But we’re not going to make them do a lot of work. We’re going to get straight to the point. Ideally, we’re going to give them some ideas, some actionable recommendations on what to do based on our insights. That’s one deliverable.

If on the other hand I’m creating something for a fellow coworker, maybe this is somebody that is a fellow Tableau Desktop user and they understand some of those interactive capabilities of the software, that tool is going to look very different. I might build in some filters or dashboard actions. Tactics that allow them to do their own discovery, find out what’s relevant to them.

A third completely different audience is a mainstream audience. I design a lot in a tool called Tableau Public and a lot of my public visualizations are related to sports data. These sports people, they’re not necessarily data people. And in fact, most of them probably have never heard of Tableau. So I need to design something so that the insight gets across to data people and non-data people alike.

Each of those three deliverables, though, is going to look very different. That’s why it’s so critical to understand who the audience is going into the engagement.

Another reason the audience is important is it’s going to help you get your point across. Whether we like it or not analytics is a bit of a sales process. And if you can find out what personality type your end user is, you can kind of tap into that a little bit to help your visualization resonate with them.

I learned the four personality types in sales class in school as competitive, analytical, amiable, and expressive. And there’s tactics for how you might want to handle each of those different audiences. These people are all over in your office and your stakeholders are going to have different personality types. If you can find out what that is, it’ll help you connect with them and get your insight across to cause the best chance of causing action. The four personality types, like I said, we’re going to go through these and give you just a couple of ideas on how to handle each one.

The first is analytical. I wanted to get this out of the way because this is the one we should be able to handle. These are the people that are interested in the data. Couple ways, or extra tactics, that you might want to keep in mind with this audience, though, they might very likely ask for the underlying data. You might want to deliver that in a tooltip or provide the ability for them to download and export the data because these folks might want to take it a step further, do something else with it. They might also want to see the methodologies and you need to provide some tactics for building trust with this audience.

The second type of personality type is amiable. These folks are going to be actually more interested in you than the data. So it’s going to be more important to build rapport with them and build trust with them on a personal level versus the data level. In fact, there’s a real challenge with an amiable audience because they’re going to be very friendly. So you need to make sure they’re not just being friendly and telling you want you want to hear. You need to do some checks to make sure that your message is getting across and they understand what you’re trying to get across in the data.

Expressive is closely related to amiable but these people are more focused on the outcomes. They’re a little bit more free spirited. So you might want to focus on the storytelling and design aspect of the data visualization. That might be what best connects with them or tell them a story about what might happen if you were to implement the recommendations that are coming through with your insights.

And then lastly competitive. These folks want to know what’s in it for them. There could be some overlap here with your C-level executives, but you want to focus on what the outcomes are going to be. How is this going to make them look good? How is this going to get their segment ahead? How is it going to make us beat the competition?

This will come up over and over again throughout the frameworks that I have to share but I just wanted to give you an introduction to this. It’s a very critical aspect believe it or not, of your data visualization. This has been Ryan with Playfair Data TV – thanks for watching!