Hi! I'm Sarah Moon!

Are you data-informed or data-driven? 🧮

published9 months ago
2 min read

Hello Reader,

In our methodology, we value data—that's why one of the core tools in our Aligned Authority™ model is "Analyze Achievements." (Read more about this methodology here, here, and here.)

In this framework, we call for a systemized approach to understanding our data, determining what to prioritize and why, and using data as a piece of the overall puzzle in understanding our marketing successes and challenges.

We call approach this "data informed."

We use the following pieces to analyze our achievements:

  • Data (internal and external). What trends can we identify, do they matter, and why?
  • Human behavior. How are people understanding our message, what actions are they taking?
  • Our own values/beliefs/intentions. What do you stand for, what do you fight against? What makes you happiest?
  • Qualitative research. What are people telling us? (Interviews, conversations, etc.)

The reason we use all these facets of understanding is that purely relying on the data can lead us to make decisions that are misaligned with our larger movement.

Here's an example I see often (and I've experienced myself—trust me).

Many of our clients start out in that "technician" phase of their business—basically that time for money model a lot of new consultants use. And, they build their content around "how to" type frameworks. This type of content can perform extremely well in Google. It can also be easily tracked to align with revenue growth.

However, there's a catch if you let data drive the proverbial bus. The data will tell you to double down on this approach.

However, for many of our clients, they need to move on from that phase of content creation because this kind of content brings in a specific audience, which is often "solution-aware." Solution aware clients frequently misidentify the solution their problem needs, which can make for less chance of success.

The picture painted by the data in this scenario is incomplete without bringing in qualitative research and our own values/aspirations. When we step back and look at the decision more holistically, it's clear that it's worth adjusting the content strategy to create a happier, more aligned business.

This delineation may seem pedantic, but so, so many businesses treat the data as the most important element in decision-making and get stuck in a corner. (I could say a lot about how algorithms have trained us to trust them more than our own experiences and instincts, but I'll spare you—for now.) And I've seen so many people make poorly aligned decisions as a result.

This is why we talk about being "data informed," and are so specific about that language and have begun incorporating this nuance into our conversations with clients. We want people to look at their numbers and understand the trends related to their achievements and challenges, but we also want to help people know that they're allowed to make decisions informed by a variety of sources.

Look at the complete picture—what does it tell you?

Talk soon,


P.S. My friend Christy recently interviewed me for a Creator Spotlight series on her blog. I would be thrilled if you checked it out.