Imagine you’re at a bowling alley with friends. Well, actually, most of us have an equal likelihood of a strike and a gutter-ball; so maybe that’s not a great example. Imagine a professional bowler instead.
They put their hand over that air blower thing, quickly wipe the ball with a towel, and stare down the pins as they settle their feet. They’ve gone through this process thousands of times and have developed a technique that yields near perfect results every time.
A few steps toward the line, the ball swings back… and release; strike. There’s no denying the skill and talent involved; however as a critical observer I can’t help but notice that the lane, the surface, and the pins never change. The key components of this challenge are stationary constants offering a predictable environment in which the bowler operates.
To mix things up a bit, let’s imagine the pins unpredictably move around. Sometimes bunched together on the left, sometimes bunched together on the right, sometimes in one straight line and they even shift after the ball has been released. But the motion doesn’t stop there. The pins can also jump lanes at any time. This makes things A LOT more difficult, right? It’s almost unfair at this point.
This is basically the challenge faced by marketers when trying to deliver meaningful messaging to a modern consumer. The target is in perpetual motion, the lane is always changing and external variables can shift at any time; even after the windup and release.
Since the bowler’s environment is constant, success is easily tracked and results are easily analyzed. If the desired outcome is achieved (a strike), then the approach was successful and repeated. If the desired outcome is not achieved, then the results can be analyzed to identify flaws in the approach which can be corrected before the next frame.
A marketer, on the other hand, not only has a moving target but the objective itself is dependent on its own set of variables including market trends, internal goals, and/or budgeting restraints. Further compounding the marketer’s challenge is the difficulty of tracking and analyzing results against the approach to identify areas in need of adjustments.
It’s almost as if a marketer is bowling in the dark, using sounds as a key indicator of success. “Did anyone hear pins get knocked over? No? Ok, let’s try this again…”
Luckily, marketers don’t have to remain in the dark. There’s a light switch to be flipped and results to be analyzed so that inefficiencies within their technique can be identified, and corrected. The source of this light and clarity of vision is something we all know and see every day; consumer data.
While all businesses have access to meaningful data, whether they know it or not, not all businesses are effectively leveraging their data to improve and grow. In some cases, businesses are proactive in using data-driven insights however this subtle art is complex in its simplicity. Any misstep along the way can result in unreliable analytics, false conclusions, and misguided decisions.
Assuming there is a clear objective in mind; data is an invaluable tool throughout every phase of every project, from conceptual and strategic ideation to performance review. However, just as a minor hiccup in approach can leave a professional bowler in the gutter, so can a misstep in collecting and analyzing data leave a marketer in the dark.
For common pitfalls and best-practices of measuring marketing performance, CLICK HERE.
To learn how to refine your own approach and flip the lights ON for clarity of vision, drop us a line. While our bowling skills may not have improved since that 5th grade pizza party, we’ve spent over 30 years developing our ability to track, measure, and analyze data. In doing so, we equip marketers with the tools they need to stay on top of their game.