The core of digital marketing id Data-driven Decision Making. In this article, we'll talk about what exactly is Data-driven Decision Making, and how to apply it to your marketing campaigns to improve marketing results.
Harvard Business School defines Data-driven Decision Making as follows:
Data-driven Decision Making (sometimes abbreviated as DDDM) is the process of using data to inform your decision-making process and validate a course of action before committing to it.
In the digital marketing context, it's about using data gathered from various channels to inform you which channels (traffic source, lead source, etc.) are the best ones to put effort into, and which particular campaigns, or buyer personas, are the best ones to spend time on, to generate the results you wanted.
There are tons of different channels where companies usually generate traffic, leads, etc., from, for example, organic channels, social media, referral links from other websites, advertising, etc..
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This might sound trivial and many people would think they can do it. But the truth is, many people, in many situations, will prioritize their own subjective preference over numbers.
Some good examples (maybe a bit extreme, but they do exist and illustrate the point well) are business owners using their own photos, of preference, on their banner, instead of models or photography that might communicate the messaging better (if the owner is a model him/herself, that might be a different story). Other people prefer to have inspiring quotes as their main mission statement, instead of words that describe what they actually do.
It is arguable that these will generate visits and convert them, but in most cases, the choice was not made based on data, but based on a certain fantasy. But then again, I'm not going to conflict myself by saying the other way is right, but my goal is to encourage business design decisions based on how visitors interact with your site and if they eventually convert to business.
How to avoid statistical bias
Now that we understand the importance of data, how do we avoid a common mistake that is statistical bias?
What is statistical bias?
statistical bias is defined as the difference between the parameter to be estimated and the mathematical expectation of the estimator. PennState
Ok, we are not here for a math lesson.
Different people interpret data differently. Some people may look at one part of the picture and say we've done a great job, while others do not see any thing positive at all. Here's a classic example of statistical bias:
During World War 2, the analysts are trying to figure out where to bolster on a fighter jet to maximize the survival rate of the planes. They looked at the ones coming back with heavy damages, and found that most of the damages occur on the wings, hence the decision to bolster the wings. One scientist stood out and said: we only saw damages on the wings, because had they taken damage on the body, particularly the engine or gas tank part, we wouldn't be examining them now.
To interpret this in the digital marketing perspective, here are some example scenarios
You are seeing slightly higher conversion rate in Social Media but you never gave SEO a chance.
Your SEO specialist is telling you everything's great and the traffic has doubled comparing to 3 months ago, even though leads has not gone up, but you never looked at the keywords the SEO specialist has been helping you rank, which are irrelevant to your business, or your buyer personas (Blog: what are buyer personas).
To be able to do things right and generate results, one need to look at all the relevant data in the big picture.
How do I make data-driven decisions in digital marketing
We live in a blessed age when data is abundant. There are a few key elements to ensure your decision making is really data-driven and can improve your numbers and grow your business.
Data Gathering: this part is crucial since if the data is wrong, there's no way your decision will be data-driven. Having someone on the team who can gather both Relevant and Accurate data is the first key step in the entire process
Data Processing: it's important to connect the dots, to see what activities on your site drove a certain increase (or decrease) in numbers.
Data-driven Decision Making: It's important to understand that your personal feelings shouldn't play a part in this. Your decision should be made based on the reaction of the audience, not the reaction of yourself.
We would love to discuss how to apply this to your online marketing funnel and marketing campaigns to grow your business. You can schedule a free consultation here.