No one will argue that you cannot manage what you do not measure. Nor would anyone say that being data-driven is a bad thing. And it’s true that when growth hacking, data is a requirement to help guide action — but let’s be clear:
Being data-driven is not enough.
There is a tendency to want to measure everything and throw enormous number-crunching machines at data in order to get useful recommendations. There are many vendors out there that want to make a mint by taking your data and telling you what to do next (e.g. how much to spend or when to fire off an email campaign, etc). Now, all these systems are fine but let’s not discount the importance of intuition.
InItuition, along with Data, gives you insight.
The best analysts that I know use a lot of intuition. Intuition helps you look at data and decide where to deep-dive next. In today’s world, conversion funnels are less like funnels and more like swirling loop-dee-loops. Intuition is more important than ever in figuring out where to look, deciding how to instrument your analytics and where to experiment.
Intuition helps you span gaps
Furthermore, data. is. never. perfect. There are always gaps, or notes, or things to consider when looking at data. Perhaps you don’t have enough traffic, or you are running out of time or there was an outage. Intuition helps you look past the data and towards action. When growth hacking, we often don’t have the luxury of waiting for perfect data. In fact, doing something imperfectly today is better than doing it perfectly tomorrow.
And truly, Growth hacking, at its core, relies heavily on intuition. Growth is about taking a step back and seeing the system as a whole, understanding how other systems work, looking at the data, checking one’s intuition and deciding how to best move the needle.
So, by all means, deep dive into the data — but always remember to listen to your gut too. Growth hacking isn’t a precise science — and if anything, if you ask me, it’s an art.