“Most of the world will make decisions by either guessing or using their gut. They will be either lucky or wrong.” This is how Suhail Doshi, CEO of web analytics service Mixpanel, sees the state of modern day decision-making. And he’s not wrong.

For most marketers, ‘going on a hunch’ is still a surprisingly regular experience. In fact, 62% of executives still rely more on experience and advice than data to make decisions, according to PwC research. With so many of us left guessing, why break the habit of a lifetime?

What’s at stake?

Simply put: data is now a key battleground for businesses. Data-driven transformation is where most successful brands have been able to pull ahead of their competition. Leading companies are more than twice as likely to say that they routinely take action based on insights and recommendations from analytics than their peers in the mainstream.

Making data a top priority is no longer about competitive advantage; you are at a clear disadvantage if you do not. It’s that important.

data driven insight

Dealing with a data deluge

Recognising the value of data-driven insights is the first step towards getting ahead, but it can take time, effort and patience to develop your own data strategy. Here are a few things that you can do in 2018 to push your data capabilities forward:

  1. Enable everyone on the team

Figure out what your team knows, and what they need to learn to bring them up to speed on how to analyse data. More importantly, make sure that they have the time to learn. This includes using strategic partner agencies or trusted third parties.

  1. Open up access to break down silos

The more people that have access to your analytics, the more likely you are to improve the way your business performs. Even better, recognise and reward those who successfully apply data insights to their campaigns.

  1. Tell a story with your data

Data needs rich context and storytelling to help guide marketers in their decisions, especially when it comes to getting executive buy-in. Well-presented data is organised, clearly articulated and easy to understand. It’s worth spending time picking pithy, well-framed data to make numbers more meaningful.

Aiming for failure

So is there ever room for ‘gut feeling’ in business? The answer to that is yes – but, perhaps unsurprisingly, only when it’s followed by testing. For example, a well-executed CRO campaign will start out with a list of hypotheses or ‘best guesses’. These are then put through a rigorous testing programme to discover which hypotheses produce the best results.

Brands simply can’t afford to sit on piles of data any longer. With the masses of data now available to us, we would be misguided to continue placing all our trust in intuition alone.

In this case, having a hunch and being wrong isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it puts you in a better, more informed position than you were before. Gut feelings are only a danger when we don’t have a data strategy in place to learn from them. In other words: without data we wouldn’t be able to test ‘gut feelings’ and prove outcomes.

It’s time to act

Brands simply can’t afford to sit on piles of data any longer. With the masses of data now available to us, we would be misguided to continue placing all our trust in intuition alone. Arm yourself with the data tools you need, and make 2018 the year your brand adopts data-driven insights.

To discuss how to develop and implement your own data-driven marketing strategy in 2018, contact Joe Johnston for an informal chat on: 0117 927 0100 or via email at: joe.johnston@saintnicks.uk.com