May 20, 2016 Jason Khoo

When Data is Not Enough

Numbers offer comfort. We like to use them as a crutch. That way whatever happens, we can say it wasn’t me, it was what the numbers said. In business, you are going to be inundated with numbers. Every software and online provider will be feeding you numbers so they can prove that their service is worth it.

Data Does Not Forecast the Environment

Many prove their work through results in the data. No matter if things may be annoying or unethical, if the numbers are there, they will continue to do it. However, data gives you information about the present. It does not forecast emotions or how things have affected the views of users/customers for the future.

An example I will use is some black hat SEO. Back when Google was still refining how they would monitor their algorithm so that it could organically provide the best responses, many businesses popped up with “Get Ranked Quick Schemes”. Back in the day the data was great. Rankings improving as fast as possible and web traffic coming in. Now this is a perfect example. As a business owner the numbers didn’t lie. The SEO was getting you all this traffic.

What you didn’t know though was that Google would be coming for you. The internet community revolted against the idea that you could hack the Google algorithm and have terrible sites rank on top. So yes, maybe the data shows that you are dominating the top of results, but can the data tell you of impending changes?

Internet users and business owners did not like that sites that were clearly not made for users, but made for an algorithm were being jacked to the top. So in a number of updates, sites were blacklisted. Many would never see the top ranks of Google ever again. Others took months to try to claw their way out of the black list and prove to Google that they should be back on the organic results.

Go Beyond Data. Stay Up to Date. Look at Chemistry.

As humans, we don’t operate solely on numbers. We need so much more. This includes emotions, intuition and feel. For the SEO case earlier, consumers and the internet community hated that people were rigging the results. Google noticed and they made a change. Many business owners now get left behind, cheated and tricked by SEOs who promised them riches and hid behind their numbers.

Data and numbers don’t lie, but they don’t tell the whole truth. Yes, you can point fingers at data when things go bad, but that won’t save you from the bad performance. Use the data in congruence with intuition, context and qualitative information. That is when the best decisions are made.


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Jason Khoo

Jason is a graduate from California State University Fullerton's Mihaylo Marketing program. Starting his career in marketing consultancy as a sophomore, Jason went door to door asking businesses to give him a chance. From then on, Jason has been helping businesses understanding the vast bevy of marketing and online tools to help accomplish business goals on behalf of his clients. Jason writes at Ron Wave Design, his personal site and at medium (@jasonjkhoo).
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