Drowning in Shallow Data

There’s no shortage of digital marketing metrics to choose from. Google Analytics alone has 150. Facebook export has 70 columns-worth, and Twitter export has 40 columns.

As we’ve adopted new tools to help us make better decisions, we may have lost sight of the relationship between the data and the reality we’re trying to understand. Is it possible that we’re making important decisions based on numbers that don’t actually mean all that much?

Given that highly-targeted B2B marketing reaches relatively small sample sizes, the results of any one campaign are unlikely to be statistically significant. An email to an ABM list of 47 Tech CEOs has a low click-through rate, and is dismissed as a failure based on the data. The cycle continues, one tiny sample size after another.

So, how can we use the numbers to make better decisions? Maybe it’s by first focusing on being question driven, not just data driven. After all, the data by itself is meaningless without a relationship to a really good question. Focus on discovering that question, and then explore the metrics available to help you answer it. The numbers themselves don’t answer anything. At best, they point us in the right direction.

“…marketing isn’t a controlled experiment — it’s messy, complicated, unpredictable real life.” Loryn Cole

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