BrainTrust Query: Facts or Gut Instincts? What Makes for Better Marketing Decision-Making?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt of an article from the Joel Rubinson on Marketing Research blog. The piece first ran on Brands As Business Bites, Denise Lee Yohn’s blog.
Two of the hats in Edward de Bono’s book, Six Thinking Hats, are:
- Information: (White) – considering purely what information is available, what are the facts?
- Emotions (Red) – instinctive gut reaction or statements of emotional feeling
I find that organizations tend to be made up of people who are either white or red hat and they often do not work well with each other. Media researchers are often analytics-driven white hat folks while creatives and agency planners are usually red hat. Not a good dynamic.
Well, I’d like to propose a different model.
Consider that 80 percent of new products fail and 50 percent of ad campaigns never show sales lift, yet researchers test things at the 90 percent confidence level. At the same time, if you wait for hard evidence on something like leveraging advertising possibilities in smart mobility you will be last in. You need some creative leaps.
So the model I propose is that we think in terms of belief repositories that are fueled by hard evidence but that these beliefs can lead marketing teams to make investments where no experiment or marketing mix model has yet been run.
Here’s an example of how this works. Many believe that Facebook is a place where a marketer can build engagement for their brand because, what can be more enduring than getting someone to friend your brand on Facebook? BFF, right? Well actually, I have gotten some "ahas" by showing marketers that digital engagement marketing is really about getting people to spend time with your brand and then showing that this does NOT occur in Facebook. For brands I looked at, mostly, less that one percent of fans revisit the brand page in a given month, meaning that mostly, brand friending gives the marketer a broadcast channel for updates. On the other hand, people spend lots of time when they visit your website (usually in the three to 10-minute range per visit). A case I looked at is Starbucks. From the data I’ve seen, Starbucks has more than 10 times the fans on Facebook as it has visitors to its website, yet those website visits generate 10 times the number of minutes that people spend with the brand. A new belief about building brand engagement is born in this way, rooted in evidence.
Marketing decision making is about taking actions whose consequences live in the unknowable future. The belief repository system calls for hard evidence (e.g. study the data on time with brand) that changes the beliefs (e.g. owned media is where I build customer engagement) and then you make marketing decisions from there.
- Facts or Gut Instincts? What Makes for Better Marketing Decision-Making? – Brands As Business Bites (Denise Lee Yohn’s Blog)
- Data informed, idea led – Joel Rubinson on Marketing Research
Discussion Questions: Are most marketing decisions too fact-driven or instinct driven? How do you blend the benefits of each and be timely?