Seth Godin writes something about apples and selling in his latest entry in his blog.
In our industrialized world, people are now afraid of apples. Afraid of buying the wrong kind. Afraid of making a purchasing mistake or some sort of pie mistake.
And they're afraid of your product and your service. Whatever you sell, there are two big reasons people aren't buying it:
1. They don't know about it.
2. They're afraid of it.
There is truth in what Godin has written: Consumers, clients, and audiences don't buy something that they don't understand - and because they don't understand it, their perceptions are clouded by fear of what that "something" could do to their lives, their reputations, their 'status quo'.
In the area of selling analytics, objective/evidence-based decision-making, and accountability metrics, this is very true.
Source: InDaMood at Flickr
A lot of marketeers - when asked - would put a premium on being able to measure the effects of their integrated marketing campaigns (the one with the 5Ps involved) on their company profits and revenues. But when 'push comes to shove' - when presented the opportunity to actually implement measures and metrics that would give them an opportunity to improve their marketing programs through analytics, they don't seize it.
Why is this so?
Human behavior, I believe. It is our - and their - humanness that stops them.
Analytics, for most clients, are a different breed of animal - with its own set of terms and with its lingo, mostly based on mathematics, probability, and statistics. Marketeers are used to making decisions based on a mix of research, experience, and gut-feel.
Analytics puts these decisions on the spotlight.
And hence, the fear.
So I'd like to take the opportunity to clarify what I think analytics is all about:
Analytics is about learning about the past campaigns and projects so future campaigns and projects can be made better, more efficient, more effective. It is not about pointing fingers, it is not about questioning decisions that have been made. It is merely a review of the results - the feedback from consumers - about the decisions that were made in the past.
Decisions made by C-level executives are never made under conditions of perfect information. And decisions that will be made post an analytics project will also never be perfect. Because things change - things evolve - things move.
Analytics is really about evolving our way of thinking - our way of deciding. It incorporates a new dimension and a new consideration in the process of making decisions amidst several options.
I am sure the above does not placate the fear - we all have different agenda and different measures of fear. But I do hope that the above three paragraphs somehow give clients and marketeers that analytics consultants are not after pointing fingers and pinning down responsibilities on specific people.
We analyze campaigns - not people. We analyze the marketing environments - not people who were involved in the decisions.
There is nothing to fear.
There's only so much to gain.