I’m a big advocate of fact-based marketing, which means I like to focus on what we can determine objectively about the market and the customer as much as possible, relying on our own opinions and impressions only when we have no other choice.
This approach gives us many advantages:
- Accuracy. First and foremost, the more outside information we can gather, the more likely we are to make optimized decisions. If you discovered a new island, you wouldn’t imagine mapping it by sitting down with a piece of paper and making things up. You would go look at the actual island and draw what you see. Yet, people map a market all the time simply by sitting down and making it up.
- Repeatability. If the facts gathered the first time were accurate, we can have a high degree of confidence they’ll still be accurate in the future. That means we can apply the lessons we’ve learned over and over again.
- Teachability. The fact-based approach is something marketers and teams can learn. That means it can go on helping the organization be better even when entirely new individuals are involved in doing the work.
- Extensibility. Once we’re building a structure of empirical knowledge about a market and its behavior, we can start to make connections. We can make reasonable conjectures about other behaviors we’d expect so see, even if we don’t have the facts on that matter yet. Just as physicists have used their demonstrated knowledge to reason out good hypotheses to explore new questions in physics, marketers can do the same thing.