Saturday, June 9, 2012

Breaking Bias with Research and Data

After working with hundreds of decision makers spanning multiple industries in marketing, advertising, and media over the last decade, it’s clear to me that the biggest challenges to researchers and analysts are the inherent biases that exist.
Some base their decisions on ease (convenience-driven), what they’ve always done (comfort-driven), the positive feedback they get from friends or family (ego-driven), the amount of business chatter (fad/trend-driven), the excitement it generates (emotionally-driven), or because it’s “cheap” (balance sheet-driven).
Breaking these biases and be a real challenge, especially if the decision makers have relied on this bias driven behavior for years.  This presents an additional challenge:  how to overcome sharing research or insight with decision makers that have an innate ability to only hear or see the data that supports their biases and ignore the data that doesn’t support it.  Converting them to data driven decision making can take a lot of time in some instances.  If everyone understands that research’s greatest value is in identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and using it to develop strategy, then we all win.  A researcher or analyst moving this discussion toward data driven decisions can be next to near impossible sometimes.  If you want to engage decision makers in this discussion with a different approach, I suggest you share the following movie clip from Moneyball.  It can be a real eye-opener to an audience and can set the stage for the value of your data in a convenient, comfortable, trendy, emotional and fiscally responsible manner.
Note: You may have to turn your volume all the way up.

Good luck breaking your biases.