Data in Context More Valuable Than Just Numbers

Add critical and creative thinking to your review of data so you see the context, not just the numbers.

Add critical and creative thinking to your review of data so you see the context, not just the numbers.

Jay Acunzo says you should act more like Galileo and less like Aristotle when it comes to evaluating data. Hint: He means pay more attention to specific context than generalities derived from data.

Aristotle was interested in finding the absolute essence of something, Acunzo writes in his LinkedIn article titled, “Executives Are in Love with the Wrong Kind of Data.” Galileo was interested in isolating single variables to test for validity.

Jay Acunzo is a marketer and host of the Unthinkable podcast, which explores the value of intuition to success.

Jay Acunzo is a marketer and host of the Unthinkable podcast, which explores the value of intuition to success.

In the world of marketing, Acunzo says this means spending less time on relying on experts to determine “THE campaign” or “THE tactics,” and more time on learning about what makes an opportunity unique or even possible. That, he claims, requires “critical and creative thinking.”

“Because we can measure everything, we aim to be data-driven,” Acunzo says. “But even that term brings to mind a humanoid spreadsheet whipping us forward. We are driven forward by data that comes from the past. And more than ever before, today looks way different than yesterday, and tomorrow will be nothing like the present.”

“We might be able to generally the world [through data] and get some results,” he explains, “but we’ve stripped out the specific context of these people, these customers and this moment in time.”

There is a big difference between reading data and learning by asking specific questions of the audience you are trying to reach. Success comes, Acunzo says, “by acting as constant learners who ask the right questions, not experts who profess to know the answer.”