≡ Menu

How to cultivate those nobody’s ever asked that question before moments

A colleague of mine shared a presentation with me. It was about the correlation between TV air time and revenue generated by our website. There were some fascinating data points, some of which were counter-intuitive, which is always a good thing because data that goes against intuition is what typically gets the gears to start turning.

What stood out to me is the fact that this study was addressing a question that had never been asked before. Namely, how does TV promotion impact e-commerce?

These are the golden moments that can lead to new questions, new KPIs, or perhaps even a completely new way of prioritizing and setting business strategy. They are definitely not an everyday occurrence, and unfortunately for some businesses, they are not an occurrence at all. Why? Because a lot of businesses are satisfied with conducting business as usual.

Don’t be that business. Learn to cultivate those “nobody’s ever asked that before” moments.

“But how do you go about doing that” you ask?

I’m sure that there are a lot of ways, but here are a few that have worked for me over the years:

  1. Don’t lean on mainstream publications to inform your strategic approach – Sadly, the majority of colleagues I’ve had over the years subsist solely on information gleamed from mainstream publications and consultancies. Well guess what? That means you’re feeding your mind from the same trough that virtually all of your competitors are feeding from. And that will almost never lead to these golden moments. This approach a recipe for mediocrity in a marketing climate that’s rapidly becoming more and more of a zero sum game.
  2. Test anything and everything, especially if its new – Over the years, I’ve witnessed countless companies pass on strategies and tactics because they seemed foreign and outside of the mainstream marketing consciousness only to go into reactive mode a year or two (or ten) later once said tactic or strategy had reached the tipping point in terms of widespread acceptance.
  3. Invest in data science – The smartest people I know with access to the most privileged information around tell me that this is where the smart money (and people) are going. And I can tell you from personal experience as well as empirical data that few companies, even at the enterprise level, are fully leveraging data science to improve their business, let alone to improve their approach to marketing.

This third bullet point is a biggie for me. I spend a ridiculous amount of time playing with bigger and bigger sets of data (e.g. the kind that forces you to abandon Excel and learn SQL) and I’m also refreshing my math skills with an eye towards returning to school to pursue a degree in applied mathematics.

Why? Because data has revolutionized our understanding of the real world in the past 100 years or so and it will do the same to this marketing thing of ours in the coming years.

Comments on this entry are closed.