Why Your Approach to Being “Data-Driven” is Wrong
Data Science
Data Driven Growth

Why Your Approach to Being “Data-Driven” is Wrong

If you didn’t catch our last article, we talked about how top funnel creative testing can be adapted to your landing pages and email tests, letting you repurpose content. We’ll continue to talk about creative testing, but this time, we’re covering why you shouldn’t just rely on data for creative testing. 

What is the Purpose of Data in Testing?

You’re likely thinking about data with an incomplete viewpoint on *why* it’s important. Practically, the utility of data is that it’s measurable information. The usefulness of data - and what makes it actionable - is only as good as the inputs into the system, which transforms data into contextualized insights. And the quality of those inputs is only as good as your creative strategy. 

Building an engine of continuous creative strategy planning that delivers insights through data requires smart, qualitative thinking to produce new inputs that go into your testing engine. That system is what produces valuable and actionable data on the other side. How many times have you looked at a massive report of data points, pretended it was useful, but it actually told you very little? Most marketing organizations don’t actually have data coming in that powers increasingly accurate, strategic thinking.

In the all-consuming pursuit of wanting to be seen as 'data driven' we smother ourselves and our communications with the superficial veneer of data, but lose track of what good marketing needs to always be about: customer-centric insights that allow a brand to better resonate with it’s intended market while standing out from the competition in sustainable ways!

A truly customer-centric approach can't start and end with data points, and pretend data itself is what drives great marketing. In the new world of App Tracking Transparency, harnessing the fundamentals of marketing is even more essential. As the amount of noise in ad platforms continues to grow, the ability to stand out and differentiate becomes more challenging - data without a system of insight generation isn’t going to help your business win.

The Problem With Being Overly Obsessed with Platform Data

You will always need to rely on data, but data is only one piece of the growth puzzle. It’s a weapon, but it’s not your strategy.

Qualitative research will give you measurable feedback and touch points that inform stronger hypotheses that allow you to build stronger testing plans. Of course, tests become measurable by using data - but the actual value of that data is only as good as the strategic inputs that go into the testing.

Relying solely upon data from third-party platforms is equivalent to taking a completely reactive approach to your creative.

What Should You Do Instead?

So, how do you improve the inputs and use data to help fuel an engine of continuous insights and performance? The only way to accomplish that is to include dedicated workflows of research and market analysis to inform an effective creative strategy. Don't only look into data on Facebook because you have a much bigger world out there, and data exists on both sides of the spectrum, on the input side and the output side. 

For example: at Ladder we use tools like Meltwater, GWI and OnePulse Surveys to develop a more comprehensive view of data-driven information.

Controlling both sides of the data equation - your inputs and higher context outputs - will make your marketing engine more defensible. Areas like attribution are constantly changing and the reliability of platform data alone is increasingly volatile. We don’t live in a perfect world and things will break. When that happens, how will you be able to still make informed decisions on your ad strategies?

Antifragile Marketing

The final benefit of owning your testing engine is that the strategies and content you develop can be applied across channels and stages in your funnel. You don’t need to become overly tied down to just one platform. If you need to pivot resources you can leverage your layer of creative strategy and adapt it to a new channel.

As the marketing ecosystem becomes increasingly complex, advertisers and businesses need to build their organizations in a way that provides protection to ride out storms.

Swimming in data, but unsure how to build a creative testing that can improve the strength of your marketing organization? That’s what our expert teams at Ladder are here for. Drop us a line to talk to a strategist. Learn how to build an engine of continuous creative strategy planning in our previous article.

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