Thinking Clearly 101: Avoid Information Bias

Avoid the delusion that more information will always lead to better decision making.

One of the ways we bring value to clients is by offering a monthly report detailing information crucial to project success. Sure, it’s not uncommon for a digital agency to create a report, but we take ours seriously. They’re battle plans. They’re blueprints.

Monthly reports are not cream cheese filled paczkis, created to turn monthly review meetings into digital marketing Fat Tuesdays of sugary project prooftexting.

Instead, they give a transparent look at the trends and insights within our projects, and a transparent look at the supporting data. It is here where we ask clients to make decisions that allow us to take actions leading to success for everyone.

Little Shop of Horrors Clients

But some clients just don’t get it.

Some clients will sacrifice immediate opportunities for further project success by crawling deeper and deeper into facts and figures. In its worst forms, clients become completely paralyzed and unable to make decisions because they feel an insatiable need to have more information (“Feed Me Seymour”). This creates, according to Rolf Dobelli, information bias.

For example, we can uncover a straightforward need to ensure all site pages are properly optimized, and then see the fulfillment of that need delayed or derailed by philosophical discussions about UX, site navigation, WordPress plugins, and e-commerce trends.

I am not saying you should disregard information. Not at all. What I am saying is that you should make sure the information you are collecting and analyzing is actually valuable to the project and actionable.

Things to Know

To combat information bias, and stay focused on project success, here are three suggestions.

First, know your goals. It seems completely ridiculous to have to say this, but I’ve been around long enough to know differently. You need to know your goals. We can’t develop a strategy without them, and we can’t improve our strategies if you aren’t committed to them.

Second, know your basics. There are fundamental tasks for digital marketing, and it is important to create a benchmark report that will keep all of these in check. A benchmark report will also allow you to compare your company’s data against industry data and digital marketing trends. This will then be useful for setting targets to reach your goals.

Finally, know your values. For example, what is the value of a conversion? If the average lifetime value of a customer is $10k, what is a “good” cost per acquisition? What numbers are you reaching for? Have you established stretch goals, allowing you to continue to push project growth over time? It is important to know values such as these.

Final Thoughts

Okay, I know I sound grumpy – but that’s not the case. At the end of the day I want to see you and your company succeed. Yet I find that often clients succeed to a point, but then don’t want to push further to see massive success. Often the obstacle is information bias.

And what I want clients to know is found in the words of Tony Robbins: “A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.”

Make decisions – so we can take actions.