The Cost of Perfection
Better yet, one of the beautiful things about statistics (and computers) is the ability to assess, measure and account for error, outliers and still produce predictable outcomes.
In marketing, especially at scale, we’re looking to optimize performance. Rarely do we get it truly and totally perfect — not just because we’re not building medical devices to implant in a person or bridges that millions will walk across … but because a few percentage points of improvement in profit can redefine the leader in a category.
The Bottom Line
In the example we began with, we used a fairly weak proxy for the “ideal” data we couldn’t get our hands on for our analysis. With all of its limitations, we were able to discover an opportunity to grow customer value and take share from competitors with an eight-figure return … and if we had used only the data the organization already had on Day One, 18 months prior, that rate of return could be double.
Marketers need to have a bias to action, and start using the data they have today. It is far too easy to succumb to a narrative that leads us down the path of inactivity and reactivity.
Clean and perfect may sound or feel good — but the corner office and a big promotion requires action and results.
Don’t delay in the hopes of theoretical perfection that really never happens — take a shot and see what is actually feasible.
If someone, however well-intended, “scares you into inaction” over visions of some perfection, cleanliness or readiness of your raw data, perhaps progressive marketers have to start asking what — or whom it is — who's “just not ready.”