Watching The Office episode “Dunder Mifflin Infinity,” we all laughed watching Michael Scott “follow” his GPS straight into a lake, responding to Dwight’s screams to stay on the road that, “the machine knows where it is going!”
We also probably watched this episode of The Office never imagining that someone would do that in real life. Machines are smart, but we know we are smarter, so we know when to stop listening to them. Or do we?
In June of 2017, a man drove his car directly into a lake just outside of Boston because his “GPS advised him to continue going straight.” In January of 2018, a woman drove her truck into Lake Champlain on the advice of Waze. A Google spokesperson reminded people after this incident that while using Waze, they should still “use all environmental information available to them to make the best decisions as they drive.”
It is hard to not laugh reading these examples, but sometimes we can all use some common sense advice, and even if we don’t want to admit it, we can all occasionally find ourselves thinking we are following directions and actually find out we drove straight into a lake.
As our world has become more complex, we have turned to machines and technology to help us make sense of it. Sometimes this means automation, analysis, or augmentation. Just as we use technology in our everyday life to make sense of the world around us, organizations have continued to adopt technologies to enable efficiencies and better compete. However, these technologies can be a double-edged sword as more proliferate and we get to the point where we are overwhelmed - turning not to the best solution, but the one that seems the easiest, or the one that is already there.
As our GPS examples show us, technology is not the answer to the problem, it is an enabler of the solution. An effective MarTech stack is only as good as the data it is powered by. Making “data driven” decisions a reality has three pre-requisites:
(1) good data
(2) useful data
(3) contextual data
Reliable decisions utilizing data require a much deeper understanding of the causes and subsequent effects.
Martech Consulting to configure an effective Martech Stack that provides businesses with actionable data and insights that allow them to strengthen their marketing efforts.
Harvard Business Review discussed the benefits of being a data-driven decision making organization, explaining that, “The more companies characterized themselves as data-driven, the better they performed on objective measures of financial and operational results… Companies in the top 3rd of their industry in the use of data-driven decision making were, on average, 5% more productive and 6% more profitable than their competitors.” Ultimately, utilizing data to make decisions can have huge upsides, but the right decision is dependent on having the right data, and the right technologies.
Just like a GPS, you need to know where you are going. There should be a clear understanding of investments and impacts from the organizational to the direct impact level, and these should be used to define priorities and focus money on activities that are essential to the success of the company.
Companies often turn to data when it comes to understanding, but data is only half of the equation. Turning goals into reality requires having an in depth understanding of your customers, and pairing that with actual buying behavior so you know who your customer is, what they buy, why they buy and how much and how often.
The power of understanding your customers lies not just in the knowledge you have, but in the actions you take. The value of pairing customer personas and behaviors comes from the ability to prioritize what you focus on and who you focus on, allowing you to isolate the variables that will ensure maximum impact.
Technology exists to enable the people and processes in a business to be more effective. Ensuring that the technology you implement is serving your organization and your goals is essential, and it should always be evaluated in that context. Aligning your people, processes, platforms and data with your company's long term strategy enables a MarTech stack that serves an entire organization, and sets you up for long term success.
We help companies understand and take control of their data to drive the right decisions and technology choices. If the validity of your data driven decision making keeps you up at night, Conduit can help because it’s never too late to prioritize progress.
Our Martech consulting services make it easy for technology decisions to shape past, current and future needs of the business.