Analysis paralysis! I love the phrase analysis paralysis because it is so real, poignant and detrimental to the progression of our marketing efforts. There is a fine line between good analysis and too much of a good thing that stops any advancement.
Have you ever been starving while sitting down at a restaurant to be handed a 20-page menu? When you flipped through the pages, did you begin to lose your appetite? To many options took over the feeling of hunger and left you overwhelmed and indecisive.
The same holds true when we start to analyze our data, strategies, creative, etc. As marketers, we always want to put our best foot forward. We are always looking at solutions that will give us the best results. All the possibilities begin to creep in and overwhelm our original pure ideologies.
So how do we analyze a problem and not become paralyzed by all the options available?
Have a clear vision of the problem before starting
Easy to say, but really what is the problem you are trying to solve. It should not be, “how do we get more customers in our door” as this leaves the proverbial, “door” wide opened to many sophisticated solutions. These solutions will probably never come to fruition because there is no clear path to the problem. Drilling down to one problem on a granular level is a way to minimize the number of solutions needed.
I.E., We need more customers that convert from our website. In this scenario, you do not want to think of the whole site as the problem. Instead, look at a specific page that shows the most favorable traffic and pixel it for retargeting. Take that audience and push them to a lead gen page that in turn starts a nurturing process. Thinking of a specific problem will keep you focused on strategies that pertain to that problem. It also will limit the number of people that are involved in finding the solution to the problem.
Getting the right people involved while not overextending the invitation
Sometimes a consultant or analyst is required to focus in on our original goals. It is an excellent solution if the resources are available as they can do a tremendous amount of heavy analysis lifting. However, this can create challenges as more decisions made at higher levels can derail the process before an idea is ever put into production. You must have full confidence in the consultant/analyst, and your requirements for them need to be established at the very beginning of the discovery process.
You can also run the risk of having too many influencers making decisions from the very beginning. Sometimes the thought is to include as many SME’s as possible, so the ideas are plentiful. However, having too many in the beginning is going to cause discourse, and the end game will never come to light. Instead, a high-level strategy should first be in place while the SME’s provide solutions only to the parts they are experts within. One risk from this is that the high-level process gets too far into the weeds that then unintentionally persuades the SME’s in a direction they should have never gone down. Keeping the strategy very high level is critical at the beginning as to not influence or corrupt the SME’s. It also allows them to be the bigger part of the solution which in turn should increase their readiness to provide help.
The idea you start with is not the end all
When you have developed a strategy to your problem, it is not, nor should be, the only one you will be stuck with until the end of time. Many times, the final strategy selected is decided upon as the perfect solution, so why ever touch it again. WRONG! You will and always should look at iterations and optimizations of your strategies. Marketing is never a “set it and forget it” methodology. You should continuously be looking at the metrics and optimizing where needed. However, it should not stop just with optimization. We can take what works and scale to other problem areas or make the original strategy even better by experimenting with it.
Do not deviate once you have a decision
You can sit in perpetual madness if you do not stay the course. Obviously, there is an exemption to every rule. If you get knee deep into a strategy and it comes to light that there will be no right outcome, it is time to rethink. However, if you never get to the end and are continually rethinking the original approach, you will again be stuck in analysis paralysis. There will be plenty of time to deviate when looking at iterations of the original strategy once it is in place.
Think outside of the box
When you have done what you do long enough, you start to lose sight of the simple things that could potentially have been a fix to a big problem. That same position at the same business for a long period creates a sort of philosophy inbreeding that keeps us from thinking outside of the box . One way to break this is keeping up with the latest marketing info via blogs, webinars, and conventions. If you are not constantly pushing the envelope or learning new things, you are always going to rely on what someday will not work or left behind trying to play catch-up with your competitors.
Do not get me wrong, analysis should and will always be the arrow that points us in the right direction. However, over analyzing is devastating to progress and success. We sometimes have to throw caution to the wind and go with our gut to get us where we need to go. Like all MARTech efforts think big, work hard, and optimize.