Trusting Your Gut vs. Trusting The Data

Great advertising and marketing delivers the right message to the right people through the right media at just the right moment.

The tricky part is finding those right moments and messages. So the big question is: do you follow the data or do you trust your gut?

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It’s a data-driven world out there and there are countless tools to count exactly who, what, when, where, why, and how people are interacting with a campaign. And don’t get us wrong, we LOVE it.

But you can’t forget about intuition. After all, if Steve Jobs and Oprah have taught us anything, it’s that our gut reactions matter.

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The truth is you need both. Your gut shouldn’t be battling it out against data. They should be working together. It’s why Captain Kirk and Spock make the perfect team: emotion and logic balance one another.

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Even Einstein gets it:

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Here are five reasons why using data and intuition in concert make your campaigns really sing:

>>Data doesn’t tell you everything.

It’s easier to figure out who your audience is than why they are your audience. Basically, data measures some things really well (like demographics and preferences) and other things less well (like mood, why a message resonates, or what exactly makes a consumer click “buy”).

>>You can have too many tools in the toolbox.

Website analytics, social media reports, audience testimonials, online surveys . . . data comes from many different outlets and sources, all measuring for specific needs. Often, deciding which data to trust may come down to trusting your gut.

>>The good stuff is in the storytelling.

Saying the exact right keyword to your target market isn’t enough. People want to be treated like people. If you want to really connect and engage, you need to tell a great story. And that only comes from being, well, human.

>>Automation is best in moderation.

It’s easy to set it and forget it when it comes to making a media plan or a digital ad campaign. The problem is that automation assumes there is a right interpretation of data. But if there was a right way to do it, wouldn’t everyone be doing it? It’s important to not only listen to the data, but to listen to your audience and evolve with them by reviewing results and making slight adjustments along the way.

>>Guts need to be tested.

Intuition gives you amazing ideas, but you need data to tell you if those ideas are working. In the words of Code Voyagers: “Design like you’re right, test like you’re wrong.”

So when creating a new campaign makes you feel like you’re alone in the dark, data is the flashlight to help you find your way. Just don’t forget that it takes that human touch to shine the light where you want to go.