Do we try too hard to sell measurement?
Eric T. Peterson at WebAnalyticsDemystified posted an article yesterday called “The Myth of the “Data-Driven” Business.” He argues that although we measurement types often preach the goal of data-driven decision making (in his case it's web analytics, over here in PR we often talk of “the data-driven communicator”) what we should really say is data-informed decision making. That we should not become too much a slave to data, and that we should leave room for other business knowledge and experience:
...being “driven” implies imbalance and over-correction — going out of your way to devalue experience, ignore process, and eschew established governance in favor of a new, entirely metrics-powered approach towards decision making.
...I simply have not seen nearly enough evidence that... a “by the numbers” approach creates the type of result that the “data-driven” school seems to be evangelizing for.
He asks the provocative question of whether or not measurement evangelists (that would be us here at The Measurement Standard) sabotage our own efforts by making measurement seem too easy, and too much like it will fix anything. Whereas in reality it is a complex and confusing world out there, and the data that measurement provides doesn't always have the answers.
What do you think? You’ve read a lot about measurement. Do you think we oversimplify the world to make measurement seem more valuable than it really is? Do we damage the reputation of measurement by claiming it is more effective or useful than it really is? --WTP
(I think that image is from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but I'm not sure.)
--Bill Paarlberg is editor of The Measurement Standard blog and newsletter, and of Katie Paine's new book Measure What Matters. The Measurement Standard is a publication of KDPaine & Partners, a company that delivers custom research to measure brand image, public relationships, and engagement.