Last night may have been the best attended (patrick?) Web Analytics Wednesday Toronto to-date, and as Christopher Berry (photo, left) of Critical Mass posted, it was indeed a “ “.
I talked with Chris about the “vexing problem” he describes:
“Why are Canadians so reluctant to embrace data driven strategy? Is there something cultural about us? Is there something in our DNA that makes us inherently skeptical of a marketing science approach? Is there something in our school system that turns people off and away from statistics? What’s the deal there?”
I was part of the conversation with Chris. And I don’t know if it’s fair to blame the schools. Probably something more systemic and complex.
When data driven strategy is embraced in a sustainable manner, it’s because it’s a means to competitive advantage. It’s a competitive weapon. But it seems that squeezing insight from data, testing and optimizing fall into the “important but not urgent” category by opinion and “not urgent, not important” by action (or lack of action).
This might sound like sour grapes, but it’s not. We’re lamenting the lost opportunities that Canadians are missing on the global stage. And we can’t afford to lose more opportunities on the Web, a more level playing field than others, especially in Ontario with manufacturing in the dumps and about to suffer further with the ripple effect from the GM Oshawa plant closure (Parts Makers Brace for Spillover, Globe and Mail, June 19).
This lack of affinity for driving for optimization is not new. It’s not just in Website results optimization. You can also observe this in direct mail. How many direct marketers make it a common practice to hold back a part of their campaign audience as a control group for each campaign, or split test some aspect of their campaign?
As for whether it’s cultural, I would love to hear Joseph Carrabis’ thoughts on this.
What are your thoughts? Love to hear here or on.