Much has changed since 2005 in terms of how marketers are expected to make decisions. We’ve gone from a gut feel and intuition driven process (mostly) to what is supposed to be a data-driven, fact-based decision process today. Marketers are expected to justify spending (almost like it might be considered an investment?). Terms like Marketing ROI and Marketing Accountability, almost unheard 10 years ago, are now regular parts of a marketing team’s lexicon.
In the last 10 years have we gone too far the other way? Are we too data-driven? Or are we just making sure we can justify the decision being made even if it turns out to be wrong?
As most people know, McDonald’s is not doing particularly well. (Ok, their last quarter’s sales were up year over year, so the death knell has subsided, but still nobody is jumping up and down about their success.) Apparently at the recent ANA Masters of Marketing Conference, Deborah Wahl, the current CMO at McDonald’s, told a group that McDonald’s recent decision to go 24 hours per day with breakfast was driven by social media data.
Really, is she suggesting that without that input they really had no idea that so many of their customers wanted breakfast available all day?
Or did she need the social media data to back up her recommendation because talking to customers otherwise is just passé; too hard; too unreliable; too much work, or…?
Data is a wonderful thing … if used to create actionable insights. If used to protect one’s backside; well that’s another story. Agile is not just a method, it’s a competitive advantage. If you can’t afford to be wrong, you’ve got bigger problems.
Act on your insights. Be nimble, be agile, and do new things. If they work do more. If they don’t kill them and move on. Do or do not; there is not try.