When I was taking my Pragmatic Marketing certification courses several years ago, one of the first things our class was told was...
"Your opinion, although interesting, is irrelevant."
For many of us, this was a slightly comical, albeit somewhat insulting slap in the face.
Wait a second here -- we're marketing professionals and businesses pay us for our expert opinion, right? RIGHT?!
Well, not really.
Okay. Well then, a business owner's opinion matters most to the direction of their company's marketing initiatives, right?
This phrase later became one of my favorite throughout my career in marketing and although I'm not a devout Product Manager per-se, I am still a big fan of the Pragmatic Marketing Framework.
Anyway, here's why our opinions mean very little when it comes to crafting successful inbound marketing strategies.
Why Your Opinion Doesn't Matter When Creating a Relevant Inbound Marketing Strategy
We're all big boys and girls here, so it's time to check our egos at the door. And in all honesty, we're not talking about omitting our opinions because we're nincompoops. We're really talking about adhering to a set group of processes that prevent us from letting our opinions get in the way of success.
Our primary job is to help our employers or clients increase their revenue through various inbound marketing services. And how we do that requires sound judgment, paying close attention to what our market and metrics are telling us.
Here are examples of a few foundational (and indispensable) marketing activities that require absolutely zero opinion:
- Uncovering & solving market problems
- Building business cases
- Developing/Refining content strategies
As a professional marketer or business owner, discovering and solving problems within our market is at the core of everything we do. The solving part is really important because that's how businesses make money.
Again, none of these activities require opinions to be successful because they all involve gathering and analyzing empirical data.
You're in the middle of a monthly marketing meeting and, as the business owner or marketing manager, it's time to share your findings of why your clients don't like "X."
You can answer in one of two ways:
- "Well, I think our clients don't like "X" because maybe they feel "Y" doesn't work."
- "Our recent surveys show our clients don't like "X" because "Y" has too complicated of an integration process."
Which of these statements provides the answers needed for better inbound marketing strategy development?
Making the Case for Expert Opinions
Okay, okay, I know I'm negating the candid direction of this article here, but there is still a strong case to be made for the value of our professional perspectives.
Perhaps the one area where our opinions count the most is in the department of creativity. Thank goodness!
Now, I think (get it? get it?) a common reason why many are initially drawn to the marketing profession is because of its creative facets. Perhaps this is why I've met so many past artists and musicians in the marketing field.
We frequently rely on our creativity to solve the problems we've uncovered within our market, increase sales and even develop key differentiators in crowded markets.
Dutch airline company KLM's "Meet & Seat" campaign is a great example of creative marketing strategy.
Even a traditionally marketing-stale organization like NASA got creative with it's #Globalselfie 2014 Earth Day campaign. The key here is that creative opinion and action was used in the "how," not the "why" of their marketing strategy.
As creators of our own marketing success stories, it's critical for us to not let our opinions get in the way of what our market and data are telling us.
It doesn't mean our opinions are completely useless, they simply present a significant risk to the results (and budget).
So get out there, ask the right questions, measure everything and listen carefully to the results because nothing will get more people on-board with your "opinion" than fact based research.