Marketers [must] love data

Or how decisions must be justified and how intuition doesn’t count.

In my last (proper) post (Following the money to online communications predictions) I looked at some of the key themes coming out of the technological innovations being funded by venture capitalists.

One of those key themes, in fact the over riding theme, was that the volume of data that will be available to marketers and business people alike, is about to explode.

So it was no surprise to me to see a few interesting items pop up in the last few weeks.

1. London Business School podcast: Decision making can not be left to intuition alone. (Direct download) Pretty much exactly what it says on the tin.

2. CMA Study (direct download): Talent Crunch Major Issue for Marketers. “The real limitation is the skill-set to understand and interpret numbers in order to make effective marketing decisions. Some success can still be attained without a numbers discipline but it is confined within the creative side of marketing. However, in order to advance to the more senior levels, marketing experience without any numbers discipline will be a roadblock to today’s young marketers wishing to advance their careers.”

3. Harvard Business School: How Can Decision Making be Improved? Key concept #1: “People put great trust in their intuition. The past 50 years of decision-making research challenges that trust.”

The big thing for me is seeing just how badly marketers, and especially online marketers, need to learn to love data.

Clearly, intuition doesn’t work.

Decisions can no longer be left to intuition and it’s immediate cousin, the tired old “it’s worked in the past” excuse.

Decisions, especially big decisions, need to be justified with data from previous campaigns and, even, products. This makes the reporting and analysis of data even more important. Now, data doesn’t have to be quantitative, it can be qualitative as well – which means we need to work out this online monitoring and share of voice/sentiment analysis PDQ.

Interesting times.

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