Math Man vs. Mad Man

In marketing research, better results were often obtained in the past from behavior contrary to the findings of analytics. In such conditions the ‘Mad Man’ had room to maneuver, and the ‘Math Man’ had a head full of doubts. Then, digitization came along and changed the rules of the game.

Today, digital channels are not only getting feedback from data, but from sentiment. In an important way, intuition is like big data. The source of feelings is like finding similarities between the current situation and the events of the past. Finding patterns in big data resembles this mechanism. Both big-data analysis and intuition are based on data – in humans this data is the experience accumulated in the subconscious mind and consciousness.

So intuition – despite appearances – is not something irrational. Intuition can be measured through the quantity and quality of experience.

The results of analysis and data are not absolutely flawless. Even web-based analytics are not infallible, as there are situations where the data is not 100% accurate. Therefore, in the case of small differences (of the order of 1%) using intuition to make a final decision is definitely warranted.

Sometimes errors in analytical assumptions result in erroneous results and negative common sense. Intuition and common sense are not control functions. Furthermore, it’s not always worth investing in complex analytical process if the risk is low – in such cases, intuition can save a lot of money and time.

In a nutshell, the conflict between “gut players” and analysts is increasing. The problem is that neither side is 100% wrong, therefore the only solution is cooperation. Analysts need to understand the advantages of intuition, and “gut players” need to be sold on the strength of hard data. Both parties must also accept the weakness of their specialties. If they do, they’ll find that their teams can be a lot faster and more accurate.

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