Should You Trust Instincts or Data?

Whether it’s deciding to skip dessert, get out of bed and go to work when you feel like going back to sleep, or not making that risky move, your instincts, or gut feelings, are almost always right; the gut has even been called the second brain. At the same time, your experiences and biases can cloud your better judgment. When it comes to making important marketing decisions, do you trust your gut or rely on data and analysis? The answer may be somewhere in between. 

Trust Your Instincts

a crossroads with logic on the left and instincts on the right

Trusting your gut can undoubtedly foster innovation and creativity. There’s a reason Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, and Oprah turn to their instincts before making big decisions. In a pinch, instincts can help make decisions much more quickly than sifting through data. Plus, there is no data for the future. Plus, the past isn’t always a perfect indicator for what’s to come.

Intuition is anchored in past experience and inherently tied to personal biases. That means the reasons for making an instantaneous decision remain unaware to us, until we analyze them. A good way to get around these potential roadblocks is to share your instincts with others. If their instincts are similar, chances are your gut feeling is onto something. 

The best way to back up your instincts, however, is to fact-check them with hard data. Utilize surveys, feedback, and every other bit of analytical data at your disposal. Data can help you determine whether or not your instincts are rooted in fact.

Data is the Most Valuable Commodity

Flat design illustration concepts for creative process, big data filter, data tunnel, analysis conceptWe’ve been over how data is far and away the most valuable commodity. That’s because data is the most practical tool for decision-making. Savvy marketers rely on data for everything, including customer needs and buying habits, potential untapped markets, and marketing strategies to employ. While instincts have a place in decision-making, nothing is more valuable than raw data. 

In a cut-throat, time-sensitive field like marketing, the ability to think creatively and innovatively outpaces the ability to analyze data. There simply isn’t enough time in the day to go through all the data available to us. Plus, overreliance on data can have a negative effect on your marketing efforts. 

Remember, we work in a fast-moving, always changing environment. The smartest move is to balance a few bits of data with your natural instincts. With that said, if your instincts are telling you something that data can’t back up, it might be smarter to go with the latter.

How to Make the Right Decisions

a figure at a crossroads, making a decisionUltimately, there is no right answer when it comes to whether you should trust your instincts or data. They each have a valuable place in decision-making. Look for that perfect balance, and remember to tune in to your customers. Listen to their needs and expectations and pay attention to how they respond to the different moves you make. 

Time is of the essence when it comes to marketing. If you’re really paying attention, your instincts should be able to pick up on patterns before the data does. That means you’ll save yourself valuable time on developing and implementing marketing strategies to get you the best ROI, conversions, and increased market share. 

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