What do you — CEO of a company — do when you have gaps of information that cannot be bridged by analytics or anecdotal information?
Other day I am chatting with a CEO about the performance of his marketing and the quality of feedback they were getting from anecdotal information (call reports) and the traffic analytics on their website.
This particular CEO had encountered an AHA moment when they reconfigured their website to go from offering their software in the continuum of Freemium, Bronze, Silver, Gold to the opposite.
By this I mean he had gone from the least expensive/least capable package to the most expensive/most capable price to the opposite order.
OK, one more time. He went from:
Freemium – Bronze – Silver – Gold (least expensive, least capable to most expensive, most capable)
Gold – Silver – Bronze – Freemium. (most expensive, most capable to least expensive, least capable).
The results were staggering. He was suddenly hitting substantially higher rates of interest and sales. There is a story for another day as to how that came to be. [Do not do the same thing. There is a reason why this worked in this particular SaaS situation.]
The discussion revolved around a lot of different marketing issues and things he knew he knew from the analytics, but there was a constant series of gaps that could not be closed with analytics.
The meat of the discussion was really this — What do you do when you have gaps of information that cannot be bridged by analytics or anecdotal information?
Let me save you a lot of time. What he came up with was this:
1. You test different explanations. If only the world was orderly enough that you could use A/B testing for everything?
First you have to configure a test and then the challenge is not to destroy your company or the marketing momentum while you do the testing.
2. You make “educated guesses” based on experience and consultation with others.
You engage in brainstorming to solve the following riddle — What is a reasonable explanation for why this is happening and what should we do if that is the case?
Sometimes, this may lead you right back to #1 above.
I find CEOs unwilling or unable to say — “Maybe we just don’t know and will have to substitute judgment for data (analytics).”
So, dear reader/CEO, this blog post will serve as your permission to guess. Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes — when you cannot obtain something called “evidence” you should use your judgment and make an educated guess.
Now, don’t get sloppy, lazy, or indolent and say, “The Big Red Car said it’s OK to just guess my way down the road.” No, that is not what I am saying. Go back and re-read exactly what I said.
But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car.
Epilogue to the convo: The CEO made and documented the gap, wrote up his “guessed” explanation, acted upon it, and it turned out he was about 75% right. When he made the change, the answer became obvious and he bridged the gap. Maybe you can also.