“Want to shake up the startup world? Get the boring stuff right, or face extinction.”
For marketers, establishing baseline data can be the difference between success and failure. Now, this may seem like an obvious thing, but apparently, it’s not.
“Many data scientists underestimate the importance of having a baseline,” said Tatiana Sennikova, a Senior Solutions Engineer at Databricks, in an article. Baseline models have the ability to “deliver 90% of value for 10% of the effort. An 80% accurate model in 2 days is better than an 81.5% accurate model in 4 weeks,” she says, which is extremely important when working with clients.
And yes, I 100% agree. However, some companies don’t bother with baselines. And even if they do, they don’t give it enough time.
There can be a lot of reasons for this, but what I often see is it’s because of the complexity. A lot goes into developing steady baseline data because you’re testing so many things, so many variables, especially for startups and launch campaigns.
What the body and post copy should sound like, which images to use (static vs illustration), the duration of a campaign, the number of impressions you get – all of these and more contribute to your baseline data.
Often, when you’re testing these variables, you isolate them one at a time as you move from one test to another. This takes a bit of time, and it’s one of the reasons why startups, in general, NEED patience.
Here’s the thing: The number one killer of tactics in startups now is simply the lack of patience to develop reasonable, consistent, statistically significant baseline data.
Testing takes a couple of weeks. But often, I hear people say, “But David, can’t we just spend more to hurry it along?” This is how startups (and even established companies) often are when they want to rush results: they throw money at it.
Sometimes, it works. But most times, it doesn’t. I mean, there has to be a certain number of times that people are sequenced and timed in terms of when they see your ad. You can’t just suddenly bombard them with marketing content and ads within 24 hours and think that you’re going to have the same output as if you’ve staged those over a period of time.
In other words, what I propose, is this:
- Do not spend more than necessary. We never recommend spending more to learn faster, at least until you’ve got really good baseline data for a campaign. Throwing more money into a project or a campaign without an established baseline is a waste of resources, and the results will lack credibility.
- Don’t blame the tactics: they all work. Your emails, DMs, Facebook and LinkedIn posts, Instagram photos? They work. Even a 60-second video on Tiktok works! You just have to figure out the baseline data for your product, an acceptable cost per conversion (i.e., insert funnel here), your average deal size, and your sales cycle. Figure that out, and these marketing tactics will bring you customers like shoppers on a Black Friday sale.
And most important of all…
- Have patience. Like opening a new bottle of wine, let it breathe. The same applies to your data. Premature application of metrics can result in false positives or false negatives. This will have a negative cascading effect on subsequent media investments. Of course, this doesn’t imply that you don’t move fast. But be patient with collecting your baseline data and be disciplined enough to apply those learnings to subsequent campaigns.
To wrap this up:
If you want to succeed with your business endeavors going forward, you have got to have strong baseline data. And collecting and analyzing that does not happen overnight. It requires time and patience.
I repeat: Throwing money at it will not get you the results you need, and will only end up as a waste of time and resources.
As cliche as it sounds, when it comes to establishing and developing baseline data, patience is indeed a virtue.