Train Wreck Infographics
When we published our July 2014 newsletter on How to Make Spectacular Infographics, we spent some time looking for examples of poorly done infographics. Ultimately we decided to focus only on the positive “what-to-do” for infographics instead of the negative “what-not-to-do,” so we set those examples aside.
Well, along comes the latest news magazine from the American Marketing Association with a train-wreck example of survey results presented via “infographics.” As much as I love the AMA (I was on the Board of Directors in Chicago, I attend their events, and I read their journals religiously) I’ve got to say: Their presentation of findings from the 2014 Marketing Analytics Survey is terrible, and here’s why:
1. There is way too much data. The survey included just 14 questions, but take a look: every word of every question made it into the report, and every number from every question made it into the report. Even worse, numbers are reported to the hundredth’s decimal place. That’s right: 30.96% of respondents say that marketing analytics are well-integrated into their organizations, while 30.55% say that marketing analytics come into play on occasion.
2. There is way too little story. In fact, there is no story at all. There are no headlines, no synthesis, no overarching theme or effort at interpretation. The report represents the worst of what market researchers too often do: Dump each question and an auto-generated chart onto a PowerPoint slide, give it a title, and call it “insight.”
One could argue that this report is not really an infographic. There are no images or icons, for example. But clearly the edgy, graphics-inspired, non-traditional format was inspired by our industry’s current interest in infographics. Either way, it’s an abysmal presentation of survey findings, and an instructive reminder that our industry desperately needs smart people who can turn data into stories, far more than it needs another fancy tool for data visualization.