Recently, I've posted a question on our Market Insight Community about data visualization. Why? Because infographics are hot. Follow the infographic (#infographic) topic on Twitter and you’ll see a constant stream of new graphics. A recent example of a market-research-related one is this one from The New York Times that shows you how many households in the US have a similar set-up. And this week I tweeted a link to an interview with a company called Tableau Software that helps organizations visualize big data and works with organizations like The Wall Street Journal and CNN Money to create interactive graphics like this one on foreclosure filings.

But what is the role of data visualization in market research? There are numerous posts and contributions about the importance of storytelling for market insights professionals. Will data visualization tools help in engaging our audience with data? Can it be our way of telling a story? David McCandless talked about the beauty of visualization last year at a TED event. Good design, he suggests, is the best way to navigate information glut — and it may just change the way we see the world.

But every time I talk to market insights professionals about this topic, they tell me how difficult it is to move beyond the obvious bar charts. And when they try something a bit more adventurous, the audience has a hard time “getting it.” So, my question is this: How useful is data visualization in a business context? Have you ever used infographics, or other new ways of presenting data, in a presentation or report? Do you feel that they make data easier to digest? In what way? And is there any software you would recommend?

I welcome your insights.