Thinking outside the “STEM” box

Data Strategy is a growing discipline in the field of analytics, and it’s a particularly exciting industry niche because it truly is an equal blend between data architecture and data insight.

When hiring data strategists for the team, I have learned over time that there are some personality traits that are reliable indicators for a rewarding career in Data Strategy.

Here are some general guidelines for the Data Strategy “personality type”:

  1.   Be a gifted translator.

Translation is simply the act of carrying a message from one language to another. In order to do translate something successfully, one must have a working knowledge of both language systems, and an understanding of the context.  

Just as a poet might translate from Spanish to English, or a musician might translate sheet music to sound, it’s a data strategist’s responsibility to turn data into insight. Being able to translate what the data results “mean” for a given business comes from a basic foundation of vocabulary and grammatical rules—only in this case, we’re working with data instead of language or music.

 

  1.   Have an inborn inclination for the technical.

At its core, Data Strategy is a technical practice—a space for builders. Like architects, carpenters, and mechanics, Data Strategists learn established techniques of their field, and they innovate based in technical knowledge.

In our case, we’re working with data sets and data management tools. We often work from the ground up, defining the very metrics and measurement techniques that, at scale, will tell the story of brand performance and yield brand truths that marketers use for years to come.  

 

  1.   Have a passion for the scientific method.

The core discipline for all Data Strategy is knowing how to ask the right questions. After all, we are building brand and category truths that marketers will use to make real-world calls, often in fast-moving and highly competitive industries.

We’re in the business of creating insight—“creating” being the operative word. And because of this, data strategists are real-world scientists—it’s our job to frame hypotheses and build ways to test those over time.

It may sound cliché, but when you’re immersed in work that you love, it stops feeling like a job. Data strategy allows us to make informed decisions, satisfies curiosity, and produces insights that can tangibly influence the way a businesses are run. It’s one thing to appreciate and implement sound insights — it’s another to have a hand in creating them.

Written by Allegra Mira

I lead the Data Strategy practice at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, where I ensure strategic business insight for my clients by focusing on a balance of technical leadership and the subtle art of asking the right questions. As a data steward and a close partner to my clients, I am responsible for leading inter-agency efforts and building active teams. I pride myself in being able to bring out the best in the datasets *and* the technical teams I work with, to ensure a consultative level of insight which I bring to my clients. In the technical sense, my career path has taken me through leadership positions in digital analytics, media analytics (including paid search and SEO), business analytics, CRM & deployment rules, social media analytics and social listening, and primary research techniques based in survey design and harvesting customer-level data from the web.

One comment

  1. It is obvious that Allegra is a sterling asset to the team at Saatchi. In her article on Key Personality Traits, her ability to weave technical requirements with human understanding is seamless. In recognizing this imperative, she invites and encourages her team to acknowledge personal satisfaction in their work, creating a positive and productive environment. This woman is a professional with heart.

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