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Data-Driven Decision-Making vs. Intuition: Which is Better?
You already know what we’re about to tell you: databases are valuable assets for businesses. They store critical information about contacts, purchases, behavior, and other aspects of a company's operations.
But do you know how much more of a difference your database can make for your Marketing campaigns if utilized properly? The way you manage and employ your data can significantly impact your campaign results—and your company’s bottom line.
“According to Mckinsey Global Institute, data-driven organizations are not only 23 times more likely to acquire customers, but they’re also six times as likely to retain customers and 19 times more likely to be profitable!” - Keboola
Thus, the age-old battle between intuition vs. data-driven decision-making is particularly relevant when it comes to managing your database. In this article, we will explore the contrasting approaches of intuition and data-driven decision-making, and delve into the benefits of data-driven decision-making when it comes to making Marketing decisions.
How is intuition and experience used in Marketing?
Marketing, as a domain, has traditionally relied heavily on intuition and experience. Marketers often leverage their knowledge, past experiences, and familiarity with a database to make decisions regarding various aspects of their campaigns. This may involve manually segmenting database contacts, building email lists, and choosing the right content to deliver to a specific audience.
“While intuition can provide a hunch or spark that starts you down a particular path, it's through data that you verify, understand, and quantify. According to a survey of more than 1,000 senior executives conducted by PwC, highly data-driven organizations are three times more likely to report significant improvements in decision-making compared to those who rely less on data.”– Harvard Business School
What’s more, HBS notes, an intuition-based approach may lead to bias and incomplete or overly simplistic thinking.
As technology evolves and data becomes more accessible, the benefits of data-driven decision-making are starting to clearly outweigh traditional Marketing practices based on gut instincts.
What is data-driven decision-making?
Data-driven decision-making is a process that relies on data and analytics to guide and inform strategic business decisions that align with your company’s objectives. It involves collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data to gain educated insights and make informed choices. In Marketing, data-driven decision-making can revolutionize how campaigns are executed, measured, and perform.
Where can a data-driven approach be best observed in Marketing?
- Segmentation & Personalization: Using conclusions obtained from data to tailor marketing messages to specific customer segments, increasing relevance and engagement.
- Predictive Analytics: Using historical data and machine learning to forecast future trends and identify potential opportunities or issues.
- Performance Metrics: Measuring campaign success using key performance indicators (KPIs) derived from data analysis.
If you or your team use your familiarity with your database regularly, you might be doubtful that data can do a better job. Let’s expand on the benefits you can expect to see.
How will your database benefit from data-driven decision-making?
Implementing data-driven decision-making in your Marketing strategies can have significant advantages for your database and your overall business. Here are 7 key benefits:
In an IFP survey, 57% of Marketers said that they’re “moderately” or “extremely” concerned with data accuracy. Data-driven decision-making ensures that choices are based on factual information rather than intuition or assumptions. This accuracy can lead to more precise targeting, improved personalization, and a higher ROI for Marketing campaigns.
Identify Problem Areas
Data-driven approaches allow you to pinpoint problem areas in your business. This includes identifying bottlenecks, areas where customer engagement is low, or segments that are underperforming. Once these issues are identified, you can take corrective actions to optimize your database and Marketing efforts.
By analyzing your database with a data-driven approach, you can identify and eliminate unused properties or even whole contacts that are no longer relevant. This optimization can lead to cost savings by reducing the number of contacts in your database, thereby reducing your database subscription costs. If you work with HubSpot Marketing Hub, you know that it charges per contact tiers, so optimizing your contact volumes is a huge money saver.
Predictive analytics, driven by data, can provide valuable insights into future trends and customer behavior. By analyzing historical data and monitoring real-time database metrics, you can use predictive analytics tools to anticipate customer actions and preferences and align Marketing strategies. Thalox is a good example of a tool that performs predictive analytics, using AI to predict future email engagement based on past data and activities.
Continuous Improvement & Scalability
Regular analysis and optimization, a hallmark of data-driven decision-making, enable continuous improvement. As you make data-driven adjustments, you can see gradual and marked improvements in your database and campaigns. This approach also ensures scalability in the right areas, allowing your Marketing efforts to grow as your business does.
Security & Compliance
An Adobe survey found more than 66% of consumers would stop supporting a company if their data was breached or shared without permission. A data-forward approach to database management ensures you have oversight of your data. This is especially crucial for ensuring data security and compliance with regulations (such as GDPR). Data-driven decision-making can help you maintain and prove compliance in a structured and organized way.
Data-driven decision-making enables long-term strategic planning. By identifying trends and anticipating future needs through data analysis, you can make faster, more informed decisions about the direction of your Marketing campaigns and the business as a whole.
How can you implement data-driven decision-making in your organization?
Now you’ve witnessed the benefits…what’s next? It’s time to get started! To effectively implement data-driven decision-making as part of your Marketing strategy, you need to get the involvement of your overall company. Considering the following 6 steps:
Establish a Data Culture
It is essential that you secure support from top leadership to drive the data-driven culture from the top down:
- Implement change management strategies to ensure that employees are on board with data-driven approaches.
- Provide training for employees to improve their data literacy and analytical skills.
- Encourage employees to share approaches, tips, and ideas, and facilitate a cycle of continuous learning.
Define Data Objectives
Clearly define the objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your Marketing team’s goals and overall organization's goals. These objectives will serve as the foundation for your data-driven decision-making efforts. Working without KPIs risks derailing your campaigns and not successfully reflecting back on past data or checkpoints to measure your growth and pivot your strategy.
Define Data Integration & Tool Usage
Ideally, you should be using a platform like HubSpot where data from various sources and systems are integrated to create a unified, comprehensive dataset. It will be up to your Marketing team to carefully select which tools you use for your campaigns, taking into consideration new AI tools and those offering a seamless integration with your database.
Perform Data Analytics
Leverage data analytics techniques to gain insights from your data. This may involve the use of predictive analytics tools that forecast future trends or machine learning and artificial intelligence tools that feature automation. Configuring reports and dashboards will help you visualize and track all metrics to determine next steps.
Establish a Data-Driven Decision-Making Framework
Create a structured framework for making decisions based on data. This framework should include predefined criteria and decision thresholds that guide your choices, supported by concrete evidence in your reports:
- Routinely revise and adjust your KPIs based on new evidence and outcomes.
- Check your performance against industry benchmarks and competitors to gain new insights, ideas.
- Establish a feedback process that allows for the improvement of decision-making processes.
Perform Data Maintenance
Database maintenance is an ongoing process, performed regularly. It involves data security and compliance measures to protect customer information, as well as continuous quality assurance to ensure data accuracy and reliability.
In the world of Marketing, the shift from intuition-based decision-making to data-driven approaches is becoming increasingly pronounced, especially with the emergence of new AI tools and technologies.
While intuition and experience are undoubtedly valuable, data-driven decision-making offers a competitive edge to organizations that dare to transform their strategy and make their data work for them.
In the end, it's not a matter of intuition versus data; it's about harnessing the power of data to inform and enhance your decision-making processes. If you’re interested in optimizing your database for Marketing, speak with thalox about the benefits of data-driven decision-making you can obtain from using our tool.