Avoiding Analytics Data-Wandering
It’s something of a given that any efficient and meaningful analysis will be driven by a clear hypothesis or set of hypotheses. Yet…it’s rare for analysts or marketers to actually think or speak in terms of hypotheses. That’s a problem, in my mind. It leads to gross inefficiency on the part of the analyst (casting about semi-aimlessly in various analytics platforms), and it leads to often non-actionable results (because the results answer questions that can’t lead to action).
Having said that, the word “hypothesis” itself can be intimidating. And, the fact is that, for marketers, we not only need to be working with clearly articulated hypotheses, but we need to be sure that the results of validating those hypotheses will actually be actionable!
To avoid intimidating language while also ensuring actionability, I’ve started using a pretty simple two-sentence construct when it comes to approaching almost any analysis:
- I believe… [some idea about the site or channel]
- If I am right, we will… [take some specific action]
The first statement is nothing more than the articulation of a hypothesis. The second statement ensures that the hypothesis is sufficiently specific to be validated, and it ensures that there is the possibility of taking real action based on the results of the analysis.
I wrote up some additional thoughts on this approach in a recent article on Practical eCommerce, and it is a core part of the presentation I will be giving at eMetrics in Boston in early October.