Recently, I watched the movie, Moneyball, again. In case you haven’t seen it, It’s a very entertaining baseball movie based on the concept of tracking everything and making decisions based on what the data tells you. In the movie, the concept proved very successful. But it’s the movies, right?
In the old days, baseball managers combined player and team statistics along with their own experience and gut feel to make decisions. They were all kind of in the same boat so if a manager were experienced, they really did have an advantage.
The evolution of marketing has been similar in many ways. In the old days (really not that long ago), most marketers made many of their decisions based upon gut feel, intuition and experience. Sound familiar? Only the major advertisers with big budgets had the dollars available to do research, and it’s nothing like the marketing research that’s being done today.
We gather more data than ever before. Databases are capturing online behavior, buying history, tendencies and trends and feeding that data into automated programs to help marketers make decisions and calculate moves. With the tracking and analytics tools that we have available to us as marketers, we are now able to monitor and assess performance as never before.
So where does human thinking come into play? It comes into play in information analysis and strategy development. Sure, machines are doing that and going forward, I’m sure it will become even more prevalent than it is today; think (AI) artificial intelligence. But there is no substitution for experience, intuition and gut feel. Data is data and numbers are numbers, but marketing experience and common sense thinking still have a place in the marketing world.
I can’t remember over the years how many times my gut was telling me one thing while my head was telling me another. I wish I had followed my gut more.
Everyone is looking for success in their marketing and business enterprises. Use data. Let it drive your decisions, but only when your gut feels good too!