Marketers can track business performance more closely than ever before. Reports that used to take weeks or months are now available practically in real-time.
All of this can make marketers savvier. Better data can lead to better decision-making. But with noses buried in dashboards, marketers need to be careful not to miss the big picture. Obsessing over metrics can lead to marketing myopia. Reacting to short-term swings can make marketers more tactical and less strategic.
As a Coca-Cola executive put it a few years ago, “we were too busy looking at the dashboard and were not sufficiently paying attention to the world outside of our windshield.”
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the related problem of “Marketing Short-termism.” There’s also a risk of mistaking causation with correlation in the data and missing the effect of time lags. It’s easy to mistake analytics for insights. In the age of data-driven marketing, savvy marketers need to be savvy consumers of data. Ultimately, marketers need to be data-driven, not data-blinded.
Here are a couple related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years.
“Correlation and Causation” April 2014
“Data-Driven Marketing” November 2014