Be quiet and let your data talk

Posted by Dave CollinsAnalytics

Have you ever got carried away with a bad or impractical idea?

In the cold light of day, vision and dreams are poor substitutes for facts. It can be painful.

Many times this is down to the massive gap that lies between a dream and a plan.

One simple and effective way to transform such ideas is to get rid of words and phrases like think, believe, are confident, and expect. Then substitute the beliefs and aspirations with facts. In other words replace hopes and expectations with real data.

You see data doesn’t lie.

Not only is it more honest and reliable than dreams, but it’s stronger and more resilient too.

Yet in spite of the logic, it can be too easy or tempting to ignore good data.

It’s too easy to judge a version of a page on our website by how we think it looks or communicates. Logically we know that we’re not selling to ourselves, and yet…

It’s too easy to run a split test that measures similar variations of what we’re already doing. It’s even surprisingly easy to run a split test but then ignore the results, because the version that wins doesn’t fit with what we like.

Yet it can also be dangerous to trust the data too much.

Data doesn’t lie, but deceit comes in many forms, including omission, misinterpretation and over-reliance. All of which can render your facts and consequent actions meaningless and even dangerous.

A common mistake, for example, might be to assume that your “best” market is where most of your existing sales come from. Despite having no/low visibility in other regions.

Another mistake may be to rely too heavily on what your existing customers say they like about your product. But what about the people who looked at it but didn’t buy it? Feeding your strengths is sensible in moderation, but some of your neglected weaknesses may offer greater opportunities.

I’m an ardent believer in listening to the data; to everything that it tells me. Listen with an open mind, but also a healthy degree of wariness. You might be amazed by what it tells you.