This content was originally featured in the January 11, 2023 newsletter found here: https://www.trustinsights.ai/blog/2023/01/inbox-insights-january-11-2023-data-before-decisions-recession-indicator/
I love data. That’s a given. But more than the data itself, I love the story and the action. I’m a problem solver, a fixer. If I can’t figure out what to do, I dig deeper.
Over the weekend, I was trying to determine if I was taking care of my indoor plants properly. I have dreams of creating a jungle inside of my home. I have an app that allows me to take a picture of the plant and the app will diagnose the issues. Unfortunately, the best advice it gives is that I’m either watering too much, or not enough. This is hugely unhelpful.
It got me thinking about how we do the same thing with out marketing. If you’ve been playing around with tools like ChatGPT you know that you have to ask it for something before you get an output. If you’re delegating to a team member, you need to tell them what you need before they can do it.
Last week on the Livestream, we covered prompt engineering. You can watch that episode here: https://www.trustinsights.ai/blog/2023/01/so-what-how-to-do-prompt-engineering/
As we talked about it, we were able to draw the parallel between creating a prompt for a machine and delegating a task for a human. You need to be as specific as possible.
To get specific, you need to know what you’re working with. That’s where the data comes in. If you’re not familiar, this is the marketing maturity model.
Most of us, most companies, are stuck at the first step, the “What Happened?” stage of data collection. Even with that, many of us don’t collect enough data to help us get specific enough. We want to jump ahead from data collection straight into action. We want to skip the “boring” stuff like requirements and analysis and do something. I get it. We want to start playing with the AI tools and ignore the rest of our marketing tactics that need our attention.
But what if the action you’re taking will make things worse? What if it’s an expensive decision? What if people lose their jobs because you were impulsive?
Now, in my case, I’m trying to make sure I keep my house plants alive. Lives and jobs are not at stake if I can’t keep my philodendron alive. However, if I start making decisions for Trust Insights without understanding the data, I could very well be costing us the health of the company.
So what do we do? Start with user stories. Start with requirements.
As a reminder, a User Story is a simple statement that helps you understand the problem you’re trying to solve. It help you focus and points you in a direction.
As a [persona], I [want to], so [that].
In my case, “As a plant owner, I want to water my plant properly, so that it will grow larger”. To make sure that I’m doing that, I have data to collect. I need to get a set of requirements for the idea situation for the plant’s environment. What is the right amount of sunlight, water, fertilizer? I need the recipe. I also need to understand what I’m currently doing so I know what to course correct.
Chris talked about recipes in his newsletter last week. https://www.christopherspenn.com/2023/01/almost-timely-news-january-8-2023-best-practices-and-recipes/
If we bring the example closer to what you’re doing with your marketing, you need to understand your data before you can take action on it. You need to understand the problem you’re trying to solve so that you explain the correct recipe. Now that the new year is underway, ask yourself the last time you audited your data collection processes.
Do you feel confident that you’re collecting the right data to answer the question you’re asked?
You don’t have to wait for a new year to audit your data. Why don’t you build it into your roadmap to review on a regular basis? Like watering your plants on a schedule, you should be reviewing your data regularly. Getting yourself into a routine will cut down your odds of getting it wrong and/or the problem coming unfixable. By performing tasks on a schedule, you can find issues and fix them before they get out of hand.
For what it’s worth, I was overwatering my plants but I have been able to rectify the situation and they already look healthier.
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