What Data, Marketing and Starfish Have in Common

what data marketers and starfish have in common

It’s a common problem for most organizations – large and small. With all this data on our customers, prospects and their behaviors, what can we report on and what can give us insight to make sound decisions? Most marketers are tasked with this balancing act. Management wants to see justification for your spending – as most executives have not fully embraced that marketing is a revenue generating department. Your team needs strategy insight from the data.

Case In Point
Minimizing customer churn is a big focus today as conservative studies show that it costs three times more to find a new customer than it does to sell to an existing customer. There are studies that state up to 15 times greater. The issue stems from not having consistent, quantifiable data from both marketing and sales that produces clues of potential churn. While executives would love this information, prioritization of this analysis usually comes after it’s too late. It doesn’t help that the account managers are reluctant to assist marketing identify these events as it could cast their performance in a bad light.

Root of the Problem
Until sales executives proactively hold account managers accountable (read: commission) to entering data into fields that their CRM can measure we will be severely limited as to what we can both report on and predict.

Crocodiles and Starfish
It takes steady feet and thick skin to be a marketing executive. When sales are down, marketing is told to generate more leads. The budget isn’t increased, but we know that we probably need 3-15 times more money to achieve this goal. Sales is told to close more deals, so funnels get padded. Account management is often the best place for growth to occur quickly, but like all acquisition marketing and sales they plan takes time, money and effort. It’s like watching a starfish. They are moving, but it’s hard to see immediately unless you have good data.


Information vs. Knowledge

In a current conversation regarding the anti-vax movement and measles, a very well-educated person in the field of medicine I know made a comment I found profound. “People often confuse information with knowledge.” The more I thought of the daily exchanges and conversations in my life, the more I was reminded of this statement.

With all the information available on the internet, we tend to find an answer that works for us and rarely consider the source. How many times have you been out with friends where a question occurs to the group without a clear answer and someone says, “I’m Googling it now.” The answer comes and unless it’s really odd, we accept it. We have become groomed to assume the information is correct. Many individuals falsely consider themselves knowledgeable or even educated because of this.

Countless people I know locally (SF Bay Area) identify themselves quite proudly as educated. Some proudly share how they don’t watch television or pay attention to online information. These same people stand firm on their source as providing them superior information.

I don’t shun any source of information as I’m curious to witness what everyone pays attention to most. As for my own knowledge,  that is formed from years of experience and digesting numerous types of information from many sources. Then when required to make an educated decision I can pull from many resources and add my experience to my choice.

I challenge anyone who reads this to think about statements made around them and those you pose to consider the source. Are they educated or just parroting a single source they consider superior information? You may be surprised how many authoritarians in your life are merely informed, not educated.