Steve Olenski’s recent piece in Forbes, “The Formula for Balancing the Math and Magic of Marketing,” made me think of this post. As a marketer who lived through the “magic years” during a stint at Hewlett Packard, and pioneered the “math years” at Constant Contact, I couldn’t agree more with his takeaway: “Human beings are not machines and often change their behaviors, attitudes and actions.” You probably feel this on a daily basis, too.
Today, there’s no shortage of attempts to mechanize human behavior. Analytical tools abound. Google’s Magenta is creating music, Pandora is telling us what music we like, and all kinds of models predict and motivate our buying behavior.
Numbers are our tools of record: Twitter, Google, Optimizely, LinkedIn and their ilk all have the charts and graphs to show how well our company’s marketing is working. They allow us to change quickly and efficiently.
But while technology is helping us predict what people like in music, or art (or landing pages, with our company’s new solution WEVO), we are still required to add real-time insight to the math. Technology is a catalyst as well as a predictor. We need to get into people’s minds to:
· Understand why they do what they do
· Potentially see ahead to changes in thinking that might lead to changes in “predicted” behavior
· Understand the emotion behind the “why” when people don’t act as predicted
At one time or another, everyone’s chanted the old adage, “numbers don’t lie.” But they also don’t tell the entire truth either.
Just ask Nate Silver about his early predictions in the Republican primaries what he missed by not understanding the emotional tsunami for change. Ethnography and human insight was needed—not just numbers and trends.
This is the difference between a “lagging” versus “leading” measure of human interaction. Science will tell us how many views a post has and how viral it is. Internet stats will tell us who recently bought a Star Wars Chewbacca mask; who visited without buying, whether they came in on the web page or the mobile site, and what else they bought at the same time.
Science will even predict human behavior and allow us to offer lightsabers and BB-8s alongside the Chewbacca mask that will most likely sell in the same basket. It can even tell us what color and size the Buy Now button should be. But it won’t create the emotional tsunami of surprise that only the joyful laughter of Candace Payne’s videocan do.
Analytics can tell you what most will do in today’s world. But only through insight and qualitative analysis will you be able to see and feel trends and be ahead of the next “game changer.” Nate Silver himself said as much after he viewed several more primary wins by Donald Trump.
Our new service, WEVO, does just that. We marry the art and science of marketing to provide our clients with higher performing web and landing pages. We don’t replace A/B or multi-variate testing—we make it better and more efficient.
By combining our insight into the mindset of the target audience, and the predictive analytics of how others like them have acted in the past, we can leapfrog the predictive-only model of optimization and put our customers significantly ahead of their conversion goals.
Now wouldn’t that be a welcome game-changer for your business?