Creatives cringe at the very idea. But to Marketers, it is their life. Their competitive advantage. In fact, anyone involved in business MUST use & process business data to create a competitive advantage OR a compelling story. Data, when presented well, IS the story for most consumers. It is - what I like to call - the "truth & the light" of the story. Data, the facts, the numbers, the "reasons-to-believe" in your product or story - is what your audience will evaluate in deciding if your story is true or not. It is how she will evaluate your message. Will the message ring true with her? Depends if the numbers make sense to her.
Next time you set-out on a marketing program or storytelling adventure - define the data you wish to measure and showcase. Remember, in the end - it will be the 'truth & the light'.
Net, your competitive advantage.