By Jude Calvillo
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Physical scientists, from physicists to biological engineers, are great at solving problems that deal with the laws of physics. However, those of them who own or lead startups often also fe...
The advantages of data-driven strategy, viagra sale particularly for marketing,
The advantages of data-driven strategy, viagra sale particularly for marketing, pills are real and significant. To this day, sovaldi however, not everyone is ready to drive strategy from data. This is both because individuals’ reasoning is often -and innocently- self-motivated and because, for various reasons, some teams and cultures still employ consensus-based decision-making for most everything. This includes determining what’s actually going on with part of a business.
That said, one can see where bluntly asking a team to defer their decisions to data could be quite infuriating to a number of teammates. Over time, some might even see it as “fascist.” And history has shown us just how happy people become with fascists…
Therefore, if you aspire to be a data-driven leader but are looking to prevent a revolt, here are a few tips on how to avoid being seen as a “Data Nazi,” which are drawn from my own experiences in having -previously- taxed relationships through promoting market research:
1. Ask Yourself: How Important is it to Optimize this Much Here?
Before sharing or promoting the findings from a data analysis, ask yourself whether doing so would actually be worth it, politically. Obviously, if you foresee no problems with sharing these findings, great; move on to the next step. Otherwise, if you think you’ll encounter significant resistance or marginalization, you should carefully consider the degree to which you stand to optimize a piece of the operation (e.g. a marketing program) and the relative importance of that piece.
For example, if your findings stand to improve a sales team’s conversions from social media leads by a rate of just 1%, and you’re sure that the Sales Director would feel slighted by having to subjugate his team’s routines to what the data says, don’t go for it. Wait till you’ve got something big and juicy, or you’ll look rather obnoxious for sharing, regardless of how impartial your findings are or how much authority your role actually has.
2. Soften the Blow.
Once you’ve got something worth sharing, soften the potential blow as you begin to deliver it. You can do this by, first, taking a few minutes to go over the methodology you used, thereby proving that you don’t have an agenda and that your data was accurate.
Also, something I like to do is stress that, by submitting to whatever the data says, a team can depoliticize a decision. You might be surprised to find that, while some team members might have an agenda for a decision, most of them aren’t actively looking to posture against their teammates. Therefore, simply saying something like this helps calm everyone’s nerves a bit. Then, you can…
3. Focus the Team on Creating Solutions.
During or immediately after delivering a set of findings, try shifting the team’s focus toward creatively addressing the problems and opportunities the findings suggest. This keeps the team’s attention away from the fact that some of the findings may have differed from their opinions, or that they may have hurt one or more teammates’ purported identities.
What’s more, numerous studies (e.g. Jauk, et al. 2013) suggest that most every team member has got a shot at contributing creative solutions, because creativity isn’t as exclusive as, say, technical intelligence. Indeed, you can help get the ball rolling by priming various members of the team to solution types they’d be good at -or excited about- deploying.
Because, after all, you’re not some sort of fascist, and you’re just looking out for the team. You might not even have much formal authority. It’s the data that has -or should have- the ultimate say.
Follow the above in the order I’ve suggested, and you may someday have your minions -just kidding! I mean teammates- pumping their fists in celebration, rather than clenching them, begrudged.
Jude Calvillo is the Co-Founder of a Stealth-Mode Startup in the Behavioral Sciences. He’s also a marketing researcher, strategist, and interactive producer at Sovereign Market, whose past clients include SRI International, Medtronic (Corevalve), and United Talent Agency. He holds a Masters in Communication from the Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelors in Political Science from UCLA.-->
By Jude Calvillo
Principal Counsel, Sovereign Market
A common source of tension/politics within firms is the confusion between the marketing and sales functions and/or their responsibilities. That said, I thought it important to settle some debates about -and between- marketing and sales that shouldn’t even exist!
Both marketing and sales are promotional in nature, but, on the whole, they are very different functions that require very different skill-sets. These functions do, however, complement each other. Indeed, one cannot work without the other, IF a business is looking to maximize its profit.
I hope you’ll find this presentation useful, and if you’d like to learn more about how we can help these functions specialize and, therefore, synergize, feel free to…
By Jude Calvillo, Principal Counsel
(revived -and updated- from a never before published article)
As a marketing consultant, something I sometimes struggle with, particularly when dealing with smaller businesses, is getting clients to recognize the validity/authority of scientific market research, especially when the data is discomforting. Sure, one can understand why passionate clients would or should dismiss “industry” research, but sometimes clients go so far as to dismiss the discomforting findings of well designed primary research, like it’s some form of opinion. I’m talking about focused, objective, and scientific research that the clients themselves paid to get done.
In cases like these, I have one simple suggestion for helping your clients adapt to today’s uber-competitive markets: Don’t argue. Let them fail…
…once, I mean (or twice!). I don’t mean to suggest that you should let their business(es) fail altogether. I’m merely suggesting that one do what they can to avoid strongly advocating for what the research suggests when one’s client appears unwilling. And here’s why…
When we advocate for something that disagrees with someone’s predispositions, we can appear less like messengers and more like attackers!
Sadly, this has almost nothing to do with you or the impartial prescriptions your research is pointing to. It’s just human nature. As a matter of self-serving bias, clients will do what they can to preserve their self-esteem when the authority of their opinions is challenged. This is especially true when these opinions are in a domain a client considers themselves to be experts in (or, at least, experts vs. you). Secondarily, clients may feel alienated by technology that’s beyond their control (a phenomenon referred to as the alienation of technology). To the extent that they’re removed from the use or understanding of a technology, such as quantitative market research, a client might feel that their authority -or sheer relevance- is being marginalized when research findings contradict their opinions.
All said, instead of trying to reason with a client who chooses to ignore proper research, simply ensure that they acknowledge and understand the research. Once you’ve done that, do everything you can to remove yourself from the equation while the client gives their preferred tactic or strategy a shot. Otherwise, their self-serving bias will probably lead them to blame you for their almost inevitable failure (I say “almost,” because it’s statistics, after all; you might need to let them run a few iterations until the law of large numbers kicks in).
Once the client’s preferred tactic or strategy has officially failed, don’t rub it in. In all likelihood, the client will have learned their lesson, and they’ll soon temper their knee-jerk preferences in favor of pragmatism. They might still harbor some resentment, but, after a little “tough love,” you will have done them a favor, …the favor of getting them to put science above opinion in a marketplace full of cold, calculating competition.
Sovereign Market (Marketing & Strategic Comm.)
It seems more and more organizations want to make the jump to fully objective, data-driven decision-making, but many executives don’t know where to start, and some are a little shy about managing such projects. This primer on market/electoral research should give busy executives just enough insight to scope and oversee their future research projects.
I hope you’ll find it useful, and if you’re interested in conducting market research, or if you’d simply like some pointers as your own team undergoes its own research project(s), feel free to…
By Jude Calvillo, Principal Counsel
(revived -and updated- from a never before published article)
Month after month, in boardrooms around the globe, CFOs and Marketing Directors seem to conspire against their PR professionals in demanding to know what sort of bang for the buck they’re getting from their PR investments. These MBA-minded individuals are looking for precise measures of what’s working and not working to promote public awareness and perceptions of their brands, but about the best that PR professionals have been able offer their critics is goal-oriented generalizations. That’s because, as many smug marketing execs already know, the methods to measure PR efficacy, tactically and strategically, have been much too costly to make them worth the hassle.
Fear not, PR pro. Help is on its way,…and that Marketing Director sitting across from you might just have to buy you lunch (daily!) when all is said and done. That’s because automated tools for measuring public awareness and perceptions are on the horizon, and they’re many fold cheaper than what’s currently available.
Currently, the tools for accurately measuring perceptions about an organization or its offerings are quite resource-intensive, and that’s because these are based on highly scientific psychological research methods. For example, at the most basic level (if you want to call this stuff “basic”), researchers can employ a survey to directly measure audience’s attitudes about, and attachment to, a concept, including the following measures:
- Attitude Valence: how positive or negative an individual feels about a concept
- Attitude Strength: just how much they even care about that concept (good measure to consider when delineating publics)
- Attachment: to what degree an individual identifies with a concept and how often this concept comes to their mind (great measure for predicting behavior)
Such a method requires great attention to measuring the right psychological constructs. It obviously also incurs considerable costs in collecting data, limiting bias and evaluating results, all of which require the services of some sort of quantitative social scientist.
When people find it hard or are reluctant to express their truthful opinions, researchers can alternatively employ a computer-administered experimental method called an Implicit Association Test (or “IAT”), which can uncover people’s latent attitudes towards particular concepts. In this method, individuals are simultaneously presented with the visual representation of the concept in question and a valenced word (e.g., “good” or “bad”), the latter of which they have to categorize according to a pre-defined rule. The more consistent the word is with their perceptions of the concept in question, the faster the individuals can process the association and the faster they can perform the categorization task. As one might quickly figure, this sort of research requires computer access and very specialized software. Again, we’re talking considerable costs, many thousands of dollars most clients or marketing departments aren’t willing to absorb.
Now, thanks to recent advances in web-based content analysis, measuring public perceptions has become many fold cheaper and, while this new breed of metrics tools are nowhere near as precise as controlled academic research, they’re well worth the effort.
First and foremost, a tool that is, technically speaking, already here is semantic analysis. Semantic analysis is the semantic evaluation of content to identify its tone and semantic patterns. The way this works on the web is that a semantic analysis tool like, for example, Twitrratr.com, looks at a target medium -in this case, Twitter- and applies semantic analysis upon its hot topic conversations. For the time being, Twitrratr is limited to determining whether tweets are generally positive, generally negative, or generally neutral. This is nowhere near the precision or nuance of the aforementioned research tools (I did say this stuff is “on the horizon” :)). Nonetheless, this sort of measure is important in that PR professionals can get practically immediate feedback on their tactics and can then compare their measures over time. This would tell the PR professional what’s working to improve perceptions and, to some extent, by what degree. Look for semantic analysis tools to get progressively reliable (they’re already at a respectable 80%), accurate, and nuanced in the coming year(s).
Another important tool, one that is constantly evolving, is Google Trends. Again, I say it’s “on the horizon,” because it signals a new breed of tools with lots of potential, but we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg thus far. Whereas semantic analysis focuses on evaluating content, Google Trends analyzes search trends…very deeply. More importantly, however, it deeply analyzes search trends outside one’s own server/systems. One could employ an analytics package (e.g. Google Analytics), but they cannot get insight on traffic that does not actually hit their website. Hence, Google Trends gives one that capability and then some. It can go so far as to graph search trends related to the term you seek, tell you regional information, languages, etc, etc. The point is, it’s extraordinarily useful if you know what you’re looking for. For example, if you have just held a press conference and want to see if people have recently searched for positive brand concepts, or messaging from that conference, Google Trends will tell you if the search data correlates with the timing of that event. I.E., it’s great for tying offline PR to online exposure.
I can see where some of us might fear these tools, the notion that our PR skills could be discounted to a matter of ROI, but we really shouldn’t sweat it. Instead, we should embrace these tools, because they will ultimately reveal that the PR professional’s skill-set is well worth the money. In due time, we will be able to separate how well the tactics of a comprehensive strategic communications campaign perform from how well the more direct tactics of marketing perform. In the divide between these functional approaches, we will find the value of being well versed in strategic communications theory, something rarely taught in business schools. Moreover, in the way of execution, comparing apples to apples, should marketing technocrats attempt to evaluate their efficacy in writing or speaking persuasively, they will likely come up short against the silky-soft skills of a seasoned PR professional.
The implications for the PR industry are far reaching. First, there will naturally be a revolt. Many PR professionals, particularly the older, less tech-savvy set, will attempt to distance themselves from these tools. I would like to be the first to inform the elder PR guru that rigorous, ethical use of these tools would likely validate their guru status. Bear in mind, these tools would finally bring to light your strategic experience and way with words or way with the press. Sadly, one will note that some PR professionals will have a hard time justifying their pay to clients whose marketing departments subscribe to these metrics and these metrics only. This could happen because their tactics might simply not result in data that can be measured via the tools available at the time. For example, with semantic analysis, tactics meant to perpetuate brand equity might not make any noise in the blogosphere or twitscape, especially if the concepts being promoted are, to borrow a marketing term, disgusting (nobody earnestly wants to publicize or discuss their consumption; e.g. urinary tract ointments). In cases like these, the PR professional should be sure to remind their best buds in marketing as to the futility of measuring some things, like brand equity, as a product of expression.
Nonetheless, for the vast majority of PR professionals, the impending metrics revolution means that they will soon be able to quantitatively justify their pay, their prestige, and their place at tables often reserved for technocrats. PR professionals shouldn’t just invite their technocratic peers to measure them with this new breed of tools; they should dare them to do so. At the end of the day, CFOs might just have to reserve another spot at their pretty glass tables while Marketing Directors make daily reservations for two at 5-star cafes.