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Data Alone Rarely Inspires Action: Lessons From #Inbound15

After four days of being informed of all the most important stats surrounding marketing campaigns and strategies, Chelsea Clinton’s keynote at INBOUND served as the perfect balance and end to a great conference.

While much of her talk focused on the rights of women around the world and the staggering statistics of inequality, the message to the marketing industry was clear – data is important because it goes beyond measuring progress; it can inspire change as well.

However, data and statistics often can’t do it all on its own. Clinton notes, “The combination of storytelling and data is the most powerful way to effect change.”

Clinton praised Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai for being the perfect example of someone who inspires change.

At just 11 years old, Malala began writing blog posts under a pseudonym about the unjust rule of the Taliban preventing girls and women from obtaining an education. A year later, the Taliban shot her three times on a school bus for speaking up on girls’ behalf.


Now, Malala uses statistics about the injustices women face around the world to inspire change, and her story drives it home.

“It’s not about getting people’s attention; it’s about getting them to act,” says Clinton. “Life isn’t about what happened to you; it’s about what you do with what has happened to you.”

So what does this have to do with communicating with your target audiences?

While it may seem like an odd transition from talking about changing the world for women everywhere to PR and marketing best practices, the underlying principles are the same. If you want to inspire someone do something or convince them your way is better, don’t just show statistics. Give real life examples and stories.

Nothing showcases the power of your product or service better than statistics coupled with actual case studies from your existing clients.



Images: A Squared PhotographySouthbank Centre (Creative Commons)

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