3 Tips for Humanizing Data: Numbers Have Feelings Too

It’s no secret that big data plays a huge role in understanding consumers and personalizing the customer journey. In fact, big data is so important that it’s a top priority for most companies, drives an enormous opportunity for business improvement, and is projected to be a $50 billion business by the end of this year, according to SISCIN.

While big data gives us awesome insights, it can also tend to get a bit…robotic.

For example, it’s hard to remember that the 2.7 Zettabytes of data that exist in the digital universe today are real insights about people.

To help you, and your teammates, remember that numbers represent actual people, here are some quick ways you can humanize your data and bring it to life.

Communicate data points in terms of customer outcomes

 Here’s an interesting fact: a majority of companies are collecting big data. However, only 36% of organizations use data to guide strategic initiatives, and 41% of high-growth firms say data quality issues are a barrier to using it for strategic planning.

We all know that data is vital to accelerating business growth, yet more than half of firms aren’t letting their data guide decisions. This is shocking and means people probably aren’t doing a good job of tying data points to customer outcomes.

If you want the data you’ve worked so hard to collect to help your firm, then take the time to crunch the numbers, recognize what they are telling you, and then communicate it to your teams in terms of real, customer and/or human outcomes. Numbers are hard to identify with, but human outcomes are not.

Speak in plain language

 To take the idea of communicating data in terms of human outcomes one step further, remember this: not everyone speaks data, but everyone understands language.

This means you need to translate your big data points into plain English. You can do this by storytelling, presenting data points in understandable and colorful charts and graphs, making a video, characterizing your data points, gamification, tent cards, and more.

Ultimately, you’ll want to leave the numbers in the reports, but tell your team what the data is saying about your customers’ preferences in a creative, interesting, and informative way. Better yet, illustrate what business actions your organization plans on taking based on the numbers.

 Start at the end

 You may be tempted to rattle off a bunch of numbers, hoping your team will pay attention till you get to the grand finale, but don’t take this approach. Instead, start with the end. In other words, tell your team members the conclusions of what the data tell you about your customers, your team, your business practices, etc., and then move backward.

If you start with how the numbers affect human elements, then it’s a lot easier to both humanize the data and to understand the data.


Collecting data is one of the most important things you can do to capture the voice of the customer, but if you let data points stay numbers, they won’t mean anything. Use the tips above to make your data meaningful to you, your team, and your customers.