“52 per cent (of Canadian business leaders) rely too much on data and analytics when making decisions and not enough on their intuition, while 41 per cent indicated they rely on their intuition and experience more and not enough on data and analytics.” - The Smith School of Business at Queen’s University Executives Split On Using Big Data In Making Big Decisions, May 10 2016
But what’s the right answer?
Going with your gut
Relying on intuition is best when:
- You don’t have all the information
- Time is of the essence
- Impact of your decision is short term
- The outcome involves little or no risk
Letting data guide the way
While intuition is connected to emotions, using data relies on logic and analysis.
Use data to guide your decision when:
- You have access to all the information you need
- You have time to analyze the data
- The decision is important
- Others will be impacted by your decision
What works better in marketing – your gut or the data?
Using intuition is easy and comfortable for most marketers
- It’s grounded in our own experiences, so we trust it
- Decisions are based on what you like or what customers have liked/purchased in the past
- Allows you to favour the tactics you believe are most effective
There is a risk of relying just on intuition – it only works well if you truly understand your customers’ behaviour. If you guess wrong, the campaign could fail and you may never know why.
Today data is more than just surveys, focus groups or events that happened in the past. Data is being collected in real time and can be tested in real time:
- A/B testing of website landing pages
- Evaluating websites for SEO and ranking
- Testing and optimizing PPC campaigns
- Calculating the number of site visits, page views and conversions
Without conducting the testing and optimization needed to build solid foundations, marketers may be missing insights on how to invest marketing dollars to achieve maximum ROI.
But is it really one or the other?
The problem with using only intuition or only analysis is that neither is perfect - intuition can be misguided and data can be incomplete.
Intuition is a good starting point - if you understand your marketing goals and strategy, your gut can point you in the right direction.
Over time, use the data available to measure and refine your campaigns. Data can help you weed out the weaker tactics and show you the ones that truly represent success.
It’s worth taking the time to gather and consider all the information you can – almost every decision can benefit from careful analysis.
But don’t forget to listen to your gut. Intuition can provide you with useful information. Then take the time to back it up with data.
Let us help you make marketing decisions based on both analysis and experience. We offer a wide range of marketing services, from marketing planning to execution. Give us a call now or drop us a line, and let us know how we can help!