Using Data at Meetings

Use Data. Don’t Just Listen to the HiPPO.

I’m currently going through a few online courses (as mentioned previously) during the lockdown. Right now, I’m completing a course by Google focused on ads measurement, and I came across one section that I had to share: Individual Measurement Habits.

As a modern marketer, you may be in a role that’s considered by many as disruptive. It takes a good senior manager/business owner to recognise the potential in changes you may be implementing… but on that note it also takes a good marketer to be able to communicate the reason for those changes. Data is key, and the effective communication of that data – to professionals who don’t live in your world – is essential.

“…an important first step to overcoming HiPPO, or listening to the ‘highest paid person’s opinion’. Opinions are nothing more than hypotheses to test – with data.”

I’ve been using a combination of Google Sheets and third party data feeds to feed a dashboard in Google Data Studio. It’s proven to be highly effective as a tool to bring along to meetings so that I can back-up my suggestions and approach in real-time and with real data.

So this particular section of the Google course struck a real chord with me. As stated by Google, these habits apply to anyone, regardless of their role in the organisation.

The below is a copy and paste from that section (bold emphasis is my own).

Individual measurement habits

To build a truly data-driven organisation, regardless of company size, it’s important to cultivate individual measurement habits. Below are a few habits that anyone, regardless of their role in the organisation, can adopt:

  • Start your day by looking at how well you’re doing on your objectives. This will ground your priority in driving the most important outcomes that you’re judged by and are accountable for.
  • Democratise data in your organisation via dashboards. Everyone needs to be able to easily access data that powers their decision-making, on any device, especially mobile phones. Lack of data perpetuates a reliance on gut feelings when it comes to making important decisions.
  • Bring data to all your meetings – this is key. Data needs to be at the centre of every decision made.
  • Ask one another, ‘What does the data suggest we do?’ instead of ‘What do you think?’ This is an important first step to overcoming HiPPO, or listening to the ‘highest paid person’s opinion’. Opinions are nothing more than hypotheses to test – with data.
  • Run tests continuously. Tests and experiments are the best way to enrich learnings and increase data points that help to inform important strategic decisions. One of the biggest obstacles for many companies when it comes to expanding their marketing strategies is the lack of data that helps them to define what success would look like under the new strategy.
  • Encourage learning from failure. Failure has a bad reputation. It’s often thought of as falling short of expectations, or a mistake. But failure is necessary for testing the possibilities, and for learning what doesn’t work. A consistent lack of failure can mean only one thing: a lack of innovation and experimentation!

Where’s this from?

This is a section of a course called Google Ads – Measurement by Google. You can find Google’s free courses here.

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