The climate of the 1960s bears an unfortunate resemblance to the state of our country today. We are dealing with issues of political and urban unrest, race baiting and gun legislation. We live in a polarized nation of red state vs. blue state, gay vs. straight, black vs. white and the haves vs. the have nots. Citizens in some states are even petitioning to secede from the nation. What is truly amazing and inspiring, however, is that someone would combat these issues not with a closed fist of hyper aggression and willful ignorance, but an open hand of love and understanding.
“Those numbers are skewed.” “That survey is biased.” “Heresy!” These are explanations we’ve all used to excuse away numbers proving our theory or belief to be incorrect. While our skepticism is usually justifiable given the ease with which data can be manipulated and repackaged, we still don’t know when or why to believe in statistical results.
These same responses to unpopular statistics can often be heard coming from the mouths of website data analysts. Other than, “the tracking code didn’t fire correctly,” one of the most common web analyst defenses might be, “but it’s not statistically significant.” Given the general distaste among the marketing community for anything suggesting scientific leanings, these rationalizations are usually accepted without further comment or debate.
What’s interesting about this particular self-defeatism is that by refusing to delve into what the numbers mean, CMOs and even CEOs are handing control of their marketing efforts over to a data analyst who may not even know what their goals are.
Whether you’re playing poker, on the field of war or even practicing SEO, there are generally two types of ways people make decisions: reactively or proactively. Reactive people tend to make a series of one-off decisions determined in large part by the impulses and whims of their opponents. They look for success only in what others are willing to give them and confine themselves to fixing problems rather than building authentic value through sustainable growth.
Proactive people, on the other hand, base their decisions and tactics on a clearly-defined strategy aimed at accomplishing their goals regardless of how their opponent acts. They are the people who understand their strategies must be influenced by their opponents but not dictated by them. These people view their efforts as more than a sum of their parts, recognizing that true victory comes from long-term, sustainable success and that winning the war is far more important than losing the battle.
Proactive decision-makers are in it for the long haul. They understand that every decision will have positive and negative consequences but that each of these decisions should bring us closer to our overall goals. In short, they understand game theory.
Google’s actions are usually shrouded in mystery. Nowhere is this more apparent than when website traffic falls off a cliff in a matter of days due to an unannounced algorithm change. However, not all of Google’s updates are nefarious or even under the radar. Google’s greatest asset is flexibility and, with a few exceptions, accommodation of user needs.
With each year that passes, we get a little wiser. Some of our principles and beliefs are reinforced. Others evolve as we learn and grow.
2012 was a tremendous year for us. We couldn’t have been more fortunate. Our team grew stronger. We added signature clients and launched exciting projects. We also learned a lot – both from our successes and failures.
Below are some of the biggest lessons we learned in the past year.