Ignore Your True Gut Feeling at Great Peril!

compass in hand

You know that feeling. You know you’re right about something but you can’t put your finger on why. Or, maybe it’s the opposite: you have a gut feeling something just isn’t on the up-and-up.

Some people call it your intuition. Still others may call it your conscience.

Regardless of what you call it, here’s what I’ve learned — it won’t be silenced. I can turn it off for an hour or two but as soon as I let my guard down, it once again becomes top of mind.

So what do you do when a gut feeling is trying to tell you something? Should your gut feelings play a part in business decisions?  You bet they should.

Pay attention

Perhaps you need to slow down or use caution. Fail to pay attention to that inner voice and you just may regret your action or your words. You can miss a prime opportunity.

Maybe it’s the encouragement you need to proceed full steam ahead.

Or, its the nagging truth that you are not staying true to the vision of yourself or your business.

So how do you clarify what your gut is telling you? How do you make sure that your decisions are sound?

5 Steps to Clarity:

  1. Write down what is bother  you and be as specific and detailed as you can.
  2. Separate facts from emotion—this step is critical to stay objective.
  3. Evaluate the pros and cons honestly.
  4. Talk with mentors or colleagues whose opinion you value, but remember it is just an opinion.
  5. Make a decision with confidence and based on a solid thought process.

Check back and evaluate your decision after a reasonable timeframe. For me, this means reviewing my notes  and comparing them with new information I have now. It’s not just experience that has taught me that I can trust my gut feeling. It is also results!

How about you?

Do You Want a Killer Sunrise or Sunset in Your Life?

So, which is it? Can you tell? Is the sun rising gloriously over this frosty morning scene or is it sinking into the horizon with a blaze of fiery defiance?

Does it matter? Oh yes, to us Michiganders it matters. You see, there has long been a battle over which side of the Lower Peninsula is more beautiful.

The Sunrise Side, the eastern side of the state has miles of Lake Huron shoreline but it can be rocky and wavy. The sunrise is easily equivalent to any masterpiece painting or musical opus.

The west side of the state, along Lake Michigan, has gorgeous sandy beaches, tons of tourist towns and cultural events and is a quick jaunt from Chicago and Detroit. It’s pricey but worth it to spend twilight after twilight tracing the colors across the sky as they fade.

Well, which is it? Drumroll please . . .  I took this picture of the sunrise over Lake Huron one day this winter. It was so breathtaking that I didn’t even bother to open the door and step outside. I didn’t want to miss the moment.

What does this have to do with marketing? In the digital age of marketing we are constantly striving for results: Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI), open rates, click-thrus, and so on.

Be Careful What You Measure

Marketers need to exercise caution when throwing around these metrics. Too many times I’ve seen the wrong equation applied to a problem. The resulting action, based on incorrect data, didn’t get that desired “don’t want to miss it” moment.

To my way of thinking, we have to get back to the basics: Who is the target audience and what is the appropriate message to reach them. It is basic and simple and that is what you measure.

In our sunrise/sunset scenario, its not the angle of the sun, the percent of red versus pink, the type of cumulous or nimbus clouds, or even the speed or direction of the wind that matters. It doesn’t matter whether the sun is rising or setting.

It doesn’t even resolve the conflict over which side of the Mitten State is more beautiful!

If your audience prefers the indoors, watching tv, or is colorblind, this picture may have no appeal at all. Measuring the message of a “can’t miss moment”will not give you any relevant data for decision-making.  Why? Because you’re starting with the wrong target audience.