Data-Driven or Data-Informed Marketing?

There is a bunch of talk these days about data-driven marketing versus data-informed marketing.

Is there really a difference?

An often-overlooked aspect of data is context. Let’s talk about the recent coronavirus outbreak.

A/B and/or Multivariate Tests

200% increase in Lead Conversion.

This sounds amazing, but what is the context? Did you go from one lead to two? Ten to Twenty? Is that a significant change?

The Law of Large numbers.

You roll a pair of dice. What are the odds you will get a one? 1 in 6. Now roll the dice. Did you get a one? Roll ten times. 100 times. 1,000 times. See where this is going? The larger the sample size the more likely you are to get the expected result on average.

How do you inform your marketing decisions with data?

Another area of confusion is the concept of correlation. You perform an A/B or Multivariate test and it works great! Time to scale up. Wait just a minute, don’t invest additional marketing dollars based on correlation alone.

Keep records of changes

Use annotations in Google Analytics

Use Campaign Tracking

Google offers a free tool called Campaign URL Builder.

Assign marketing assets to campaigns.

Many marketing platforms, such as HubSpot have built-in tools that do this for you.

What’s the difference between a campaign and a utm_campaign?

HubSpot campaigns are used to tag related marketing assets and content in HubSpot so you can easily measure the effectiveness of your collective marketing efforts.

Figures don’t lie, but liars can figure.

An effective way to safeguard against this is to go into every A/B or Multivariate test with the objective to be a failure. Don’t look for successes, look for failures. This can help offset the tendency to make correlations to causations that don’t exist.

Great Analyst’s Best Friends: Skepticism & Wisdom!

Here’s something important I’ve observed in my experience in working with data, and changing organizations with ideas: Great Analysts are always skeptical. Deeply so.

Data-Driven or Data-Informed?


Be skeptical when running A/B tests and look for failure, not a success.

All data has context. Apply it.

Don’t invest additional resources without examining statistical significance.

Originally published at on February 11, 2020.

At the end of the day, you just want your online marketing to do what it is supposed to do and grow your business!