marketing intuitionDefining marketing intuition and why it’s so important for your marketing strategy

If you’ve read my work or heard me speak, you know that data and I are not always on the best of terms. I’ve had too many experiences where data led me in the wrong direction; if I’d just trusted my gut I would have reached my end goal sooner. As a salesperson, I always trusted my intuition. Using marketing intuition has taken a greater leap of faith, but it’s one of my most important tools now.

The easiest definition of intuition is that it’s the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. Some people call it snap judgment or unconscious competence. Whether it’s truly just a combination of experience and unconscious reasoning, or messages from “above,” most leaders credit intuition as a vital component of their success. Try a Google search for “intuition Richard Branson” for example, or insert any famous name and you’ll see what I mean.

Marketers, on the other hand, are often hesitant to use their intuition. Frankly, if a campaign doesn’t fly, intuition isn’t really a great excuse to use with your boss. Data, on the other hand, is an excellent excuse. And so marketers fall into the trap of using data and analytics to drive every decision. It may be safer, but my opinion is that in order to achieve brilliance, you have to add some marketing intuition.

What do I mean by marketing intuition? Marketing intuition might be defined as the educated guess that takes you from a broadly defined target audience to selecting a key set of personas. Marketing intuition is what tells you to add that media buy to the mix that might not seem as logical – Pinterest for B2B social strategy, for example. Marketing intuition takes the approach indicated by data, and fine tunes it to suit your specific scenarios and goals.

Face it, businesses are organic. Like plants and animals, they react to a lot of factors that are outside of our control, such as the current economic climate or specific industry events. A strong gut feel that tells you to turn in a slightly different direction may be your own unconscious knowledge that something is about to change. Or it might be driving you to take a step into the unknown, to stay just that much further than the competition.

Steve Jobs was quoted as saying, “I began to realize that an intuitive understanding and consciousness was more significant than abstract thinking and intellectual logical analysis.” As marketers, we need to start thinking like Jobs and trusting more of our intuition. In my next post, I’ll provide ways to do just that.