Combining Data and Intuition to Improve Your Marketing
Your digital marketing isn’t losing you money, but it’s not hitting it’s goals, either. As a business leader, you understand that there are opportunities you’re missing out on, and that a strategy shift is needed.
Knowing is half the battle, but how do you go about implementing changes? The risk of making your marketing performance worse is a real possibility, and the path to better campaign results isn’t clear. Intuition may suggest one approach, but you shouldn’t ignore the recommendations made by data insights. Here’s how to reconcile intuition with data wisdom.
How Intuition Can be Counter-Intuitive
Business leaders come into their positions by demonstrating solid decision-making skills. By and large, any person owning or managing a business has experience making big decisions, often times with limited information and no guarantees. If you’re managing an established organization and have been doing so for some time, it’s perfectly reasonable to think you have the insights needed to choose the optimal path for your business.
So if it isn’t broke, then why fix it? It’s as simple as looking at your bottom-line. Businesses don’t look at their profits as being in the black vs. being in the red. Profit margins matter, and companies constantly want to improve them. But the simple decisions you make now will ultimately affect whether that margin increases or declines over time.
No business leader is perfect, and the risks of making bad decisions are significant. Without throwing away intuition entirely–which most leaders aren’t willing to do, anyway–it’s crucial that managers and executives understand that their process is flawed. Just like an improved profit margin, optimized decision-making should be a constant goal.
Why Data Offers Reliable Insights
Data analysis can account for many, many different variables–many more than intuition can consider at any one time. By using complex algorithms, or even just simple key performance indicators like conversion rates, traffic volume, cost-per-referral and other metrics, businesses can get a simple, quantifiable readout of how their digital marketing is working.
The fallacy of data isn’t the approach, but rather the incomplete ways in which data analysis is pursued. Ultimately, data is analyzed by tools built by humans. How variables are weighed and assessed influences the end result–the recommendation offered by that data.
Change up the formula, and the recommendations might change. This is why it’s so important to choose the right key performance indicators and other metrics to evaluate your digital performance. At first, intuition is what will drive this process–you will choose KPIs based on your goals and your current strategy. But over time, data feedback will help you weed out the weaker metrics while demonstrating which ones truly represent your larger success.
The Trick: Using Both to Cover Up Weaknesses
The problem with endorsing either intuition or data-directed decision-making too much is that neither is perfect. Just as intuition can be misguided, data is often incomplete. Building a comprehensive data set that accounts for every little variable is the ultimate goal of data analysis, but such a solution doesn’t exist in practice.
Instead, true success can be found by using both in concert with one another. When intuition and data both make the same recommendation, you’re likely on the right track. When the two sides disagree, it’s important to take a critical look at both approaches and consider what might be missing from the equation.
Regardless of which recommendation you follow, track the results and use your own observations to reflect on what went right or wrong regarding you intuition or data-based decision. This is the best method of either fine-tuning your own business intuition or tweaking your current approach to compiling and analyzing data.
If you’re ready to use data to make better decisions for your business, don’t delay. Contact DBC Digital to get started today.
Greg Sherwood is CEO of DBC Digital, a marketing agency based in Denver, Colorado. With over 30 years of marketing experience with traditional and inbound (internet) marketing, Greg helps mid-sized businesses get a better return on their marketing dollars.
You can reach Greg at (303) 357-5757 or at email@example.com