One of the biggest challenges is being able to be innovative and data-driven while remaining true to your brand simultaneously. In order to stay ahead of the game and maximize the value that you can provide internally and to your partners and clients, it’s important to utilize tools and resources that can help with both context and content. Sometimes finding relevant research and presenting data in a clean, visual way can be difficult, but using some of the following tools and resources will help:


  1. Lucidchart
    Lucidchart is an online flowchart and diagram engine that allows you to share professional and clean visuals for all purposes from brainstorming to project management. It is multi-purpose and can be leveraged by engineers, business or design. You can build right within the website application and then export or present in Lucidchart’s online viewer. The site has a free trial, or you can create a single-user account for only $8.95 per month when paid annually. The paid versions include other enhanced features, including data linking, third-party integration, and enterprise-wide control.
  2. Google Analytics
    Google Analytics is a free web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. You can analyze visitor traffic that allows you to paint a complete picture of who your audience is and what their needs are, which allows for a better shaping of client targeting and strategy across all marketing channels. It connects to every page on a website, which allows you to really determine how each page is working for or against you. The added value comes from the ability to see key metrics by device type, demographics, interests and channel source.
  3. Statista
    Statista is a collection of studies, forecasts and informational statistics that is gained through a series of market research and opinion polls. Statista can grant immediate access to over a million statistics and facts across various consumer and digital markets. This information can be leveraged for free by industry and/or geography. A paid version with even more options and access is also available for a monthly fee. If you find relevant information, you can customize and export in a visual format to include in presentations and proposals. You can also use as a means to gather historical information that will help make sound recommendations.
  4. Google Trends
    Google Trends allows you to find data on various topics, trends, events and how specific information changes over time. It is flexible and allows for you to search how interest levels vary across geography domestically and internationally and sift through interest and affinity information via trending topics. I’ve used this several times to compare various clients against their competitors to see what interest levels were across web searches. This tool is free to use, which is the best part! You can gain so much information and not have an impact financially.
  5. Zanran
    Zanran is a resource that functions like the Google search engine but is used solely to search for specific charts and graphs that are available online. You will find information that exists within existing tables, graphs and charts. This helps to isolate raw data that can be analyzed and interpreted for multi-purpose use.
  6. Pew Research Center
    Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that provides information about issues, trends, research, public opinion, content analysis and other data-driven research. Pew Research studies trends across policy, media, internet, science, technology, global attitudes, Hispanic and multicultural trends, and social and demographic trends in the United States. The site also includes visuals like infographics, charts, and graphs, which can be exported and included in research and proposals. This information can be used to stay current on the latest trends and help to generate valuable content ideas for social media and other channels.
  7. Google Charts
    Google Charts is an API-based tool that allows for the creation of customized charts that can be exported and used directly in online presentations. Google Charts allows for dynamic data and the animation of the visuals, which is the primary difference between it and Google Sheets. This tool is a free and easy way to re-energize visualizations and tell a better story with key data.
  8. Grammarly
    Grammarly is a free grammar checker that can be added as a browser extension. This tool extends across email, social media, documents, and all websites that you engage with. Beyond standard grammar, Grammarly also offers a contextual spell checker and vocabulary enhancement checker. This not only helps to eliminate grammar errors but also improve upon any text that you’re sending out on the web. Adding the extension is fast and easy – I highly recommend it! Visit the Chrome Web Store and search Grammarly.
  9. eMarketer
    eMarketer is the first place that I look when searching for research or data that ties back to digital marketing or trends. Through eMarketer, you can access 40,000+ articles, charts, and reports on virtually every digital topic that you can think of. It also gives you access to industry benchmarks across various channels and data by geography. Much of this information is available for free, but a professional subscription service is also available, which provides elevated levels of access to data. eMarketer also sends out a daily newsletter and other case studies and reports every week. I highly recommend subscribing to their emails, which can be leveraged for presentations or just good-to-know general research.
  10. Moat
    Moat is an analytics and measurement tool that offers viewability, attention, and brand safety solutions across display, video, mobile, and more. You can search by brand to locate digital ads for your brand or for your competitors. You can also sort through random brands to try to get new ideas to effectively market your product and be innovative in your space. If you hover over each creative that shows up in your search results, you also can get more information such as the device type, dimensions and when the creative ran. There is also a paid version, called Moat Pro, which provides real-time marketing and ad intelligence, a brand’s media and measurement strategy across mobile and desktop and direct and programmatic buys.


What tools do you use regularly to help analyze data and trends, shape strategy and make critical informed business decisions?