Data vs Intuition: Tales from an Inbound Marketing Agency
We all have that gut feeling. It’s those instincts we use to understand our surroundings. It’s that little voice we use to sense danger and uncertainty. It’s that “flight or fight” response that is secreted into our bloodstream from our adrenal glands telling us not to go down a dark alley. These instincts help us survive and influence what goes on in our minds.
When it comes to inbound marketing decisions; however, we should be careful about following these gut instincts. Sometimes they hinder our decision-making because instincts are quite different from intuition.
Instincts are based on impulse where intuition is based on consideration formed by beliefs and experiences. All too often, we see these impulse-based feelings taking over marketing strategies rather than trusting the data and the experience of an inbound marketing agency.
“Intuition is the art, peculiar to the human mind, of working out the correct answer from data that is, in itself, incomplete or even, perhaps, misleading.’ -Isaac Asimov
Can Guts and Data Live Together?
The short answer is: Yes. That is, as long as you have enough data to back up your gut.
A common scenario we have seen, especially with small- to mid-size companies, is their admirable desire to increase sales and get more customers. Naturally, that’s why they hire an inbound marketing specialist. However, there is an impatience that exists because the company wants to get to the finish line quickly without putting in the effort to learn more. It’s a scary feeling for a company. They feel that time is of the essence and they’re not like the big guys who have their own market research departments and the time to do research.
In fact, their market research is based on their gut and the casual conversation they had at trade show or on a sales call. Their data is typically a point of one, meaning they spoke to one person. Based on this, they feel they did their research and know the market and the customer needs. They just want a new website or a brochure or an ad to get more business. So, please just make it happen without any of the gobbledygook science stuff to support it.
When we ask the question: “When was the last time you spoke to your customer base?” the typical response is: “Only when they call to complain about their order.”
Being only reactive to your customer is not a long-term strategy and certainly not a way to grow your inbound leads. Learning how to hear and anticipate your customer’s needs before problems occur, will enhance satisfaction and help you understand how future customers may think, which in turn helps your inbound lead generation strategy.
Instead of relying only on the “me” data, which is based on things “I” know and feel, we cannot stress enough the need to also rely on “market data”, which is based on objectivity and measured outcomes.
Without data-driven marketing, you will have no idea what is working or is not. Once, you have the data and metrics at your fingertips, you can then transfer the rest to your gut to make holistic choices. And, as you constantly test and re-test, you will improve your intuitive decisions and maybe even tighten your belly. Sure it may take some time, but without it, you may run out of time.