What could be scarier than a hydra? A many-headed monster, whose heads grow back the moment they’re cut off? Hercules could barely defeat the botanical monster, but he did figure out how and so can marketers.
So who is our marketing monster with multiple scary heads?
That we’re not making a difference with the data we’re gathering and the knowledge we’re amassing about every new innovation in marketing tech. That’s a huge monster we need to slay.
While our marketing knowledge and data are growing with innovations in technology, it’s questionable whether our actual insights are increasing at a proportional rate. First of all, what is the difference between data, knowledge and insights? And are we confusing these three at a detriment to improving our marketing ROI with real insights?
How do we slay our monster? It starts by knowing which one is which, and turn data and knowledge into actual insights.
What is data and information in marketing?
Data is static, and represents a set of facts about an event. After launching an advertising campaign intended to drive calls or another form of conversions, the data are the results in numbers: the number of calls, the clicks on an advertisement, and the number of times it was views, the impressions, i.e. the Bing campaign drove 45 calls in one week, and Google brought in 65 calls.
Before you received that data on your campaigns, you had to decide on the nature and volume of the data you required. To measure a campaign intended on motivating customers to call, it would be necessary to track calls. If the campaign only tracked the number of times the advertisement was clicked, the data would be inconsequential.
By organizing the data into something that has meaning and purpose, it becomes information on which decisions can be based and knowledge increased.
Knowledge Comes from Being Immersed in Data and Information
Knowledge about a marketing problem doesn’t come all once - it’s not a package of instant pudding that you add milk to and stir a little bit. Rather it comes from being immersed in information, making decisions based on that information, succeeding and failing, and studying those failures (and successes) to improve the go at it next time around. This experience leads to expertise, but being an expert doesn’t necessarily lead to insights.
Insights or Wisdom
Every Tom, Rick or Sally [sic] in marketing claims to be delivering insights (or wisdom) that can be acted upon to “revolutionize” the results of any campaign or initiative. I could give you a series of tips about marketing and claim that they are insights, but without knowing what that means, it would be useless.
Insights are a step farther than expertise or knowledge, going deeper into an understanding of a particular challenge in marketing than what could be considered an “how to,” “white paper” or “guide.” Insights rest on a process of gaining knowledge that wouldn’t exist without the two pillars.'
1. Know Your Smart Data and Keep Amassing Information
There are no insights without out smart data, that means data that has been gathered purposely to serve your marketing goals. Smart data leads to information, data that has been organized to draw a conclusion. After enough time of gathering data and producing information, that’s when knowledge and expertise starts to take root and inform decisions.
2. Read Inside and Outside of Marketing
Knowledge come not just from experimentation, but also from reading, constantly. It’s common sense that you should be keeping abreast of the latest developments in marketing and marketing technology, but it’s just as important to ready outside of your field.
Why? The most creative ideas come from cross-pollination with other fields. Everyone’s familiar with the echo chamber that has become the internet. Start your own echos by exploring if processes or ideas can apply to marketing.
3. Be Happy and Wear a Costume for Halloween
The most creative thinkers and the ones who are receptive to insights are happy and relaxed. If you’re anxious or upset there’s no energy left to produce those ideas that are going to revolutionize your marketing team. If you are not happy at work or at home, then it’s time to address that so that you can be more productive. So, on halloween, be a little silly and wear a costume.
4. Defeat Your Marketing Monster with a Growth Mindset
The trick to being the Hercules of marketing and defeating our monster is to keep the growth mindset. A growth mindset believes that intelligence is malleable, flexible and can grow. Studies done with students show that the ones who were told that success was a result of hard work, achieved better marks that the ones who were told that talent was innate and there was nothing they could do to change it.
Let’s change our mindset and work with data, knowledge and information to create those insights.