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“You’re really just searching for the truth within all the numbers and all the chaos.”

September 28, 2010

Who said this? If you are interested, email me at

On Wednesday 22 Sep, I learned that you could measure the “effectiveness” of your video creative in 10+ different ways. I do believe that this is 9+ ways too many.

The CFA Institute ran an ad in 2008 and there was a line in the ad that’s forever seared into my consciousness, “…. hundreds of data points … measured with precision. And you may get precisely the wrong answer.”

A regional business head I was in a meeting with sometime in 2008 also echoed this. He wisely said this of his data obsessed organization, “I know we try and measure everything precisely. But it is not any more accurate.”. (The ending for this story is that he continued to let his organization walk this precise-but-no-less accurate route). You do wonder sometimes at such mentality! But that’s for another post.

Sometimes it is hard for marketing as a discipline to be taken seriously. There is so much noise, fads, “buzz”, clutter that it is quite a miracle that any work ever gets done. Wonder if this level of noise exists in the finance department down the corridor?

There’s been a colossal growth of data in the past 15 years. It feels like the moment you wake up, someone, something, somewhere, starts the counter tracking every thing you do and reporting it somewhere for some random purpose.

Does this mass of data and information make decision making better and faster? Or is this just a huge mess that leads to a paralysis in thought and action?

My suspicion is the latter.

Back to the quote at the top of this post.

Search for the truth as this is the heart of measuring.
Search for the truth be it about a customer insight, a growth opportunity or even a mistake in the current business and marketing strategy.

Start with,
1. What you want to know.
2. What are some of your hypothesis with regards to your customer, business growth opportunity or even what’s going wrong with your business.
3. What areas you want your business and brand to expand into.

Care less about,
…. whether you have gazillion fans, tons of Facebook likes or even super-long video dwell time.
… getting millions of data points to be “statistically significant”
… systems and dashboards.

CARE MORE about,
• Sniffing out mistakes in current strategies
• Identifying growth opportunities.
• Identifying actionable insights that will make a difference to your business and brand.
• Understanding your current customers better. If you don’t someone else might.

Many years ago, a simple regression analysis + a case study from WARC proved to a client on pitch that their brief was incorrect and the real business solution was to overhaul their marketing strategy to one focused on the mother brand and not the individual variants. Sales lifted off and 6 years later, this strategy continues. Interested to know which brand? You know the drill – email me.

I leave you with this,
Measure for precision. You may get precisely the wrong answer.
Measure for everything you do because you can. You will be paralyzed.
Measure against a clear truth that is critical for your business growth and with the intent to take meaningful action thereafter. You just may get a moment of clarity.

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