Why over-analysing takes you off track

Getting lost in data points is where problems start, writes Pip Stocks, and when we over-think things, we fail.  

analyse-theme-badgeIt may seem ironic for the CEO of a brand research company to say don’t over analyse but… there you are, I said it.

Don’t get me wrong, part of our IP is the way we analyse all the data points that come out of our research, and we spend time doing it too. If you come to the agency on any given day, you will see white boards with ideas, post it notes popped around the room, big white sheets of paper with texta notes and the beginnings of a great presentation.   

But getting lost in those data points is where the problem starts.  

Over-analysing and losing yourself in the minutiae can mean you miss the big picture and it encourages insular thinking.

When Apple launched its iPhone 6 with a free U2 album there was an outcry from some users that the songs were unwanted and took up too much storage space on their devices.  Did they sit around and pontificate about how great this idea was? It certainly looks like they got caught up in the detail of the launch as opposed to looking at the big picture – did our consumers want this?

Another famous telecommunications brand didn’t see the importance of launching its smartphone when it could because it over thought the value of its brand. Nokia went from being the biggest phone manufacturer in 1998 to being sold to Microsoft at a rock bottom price.

Marketers take note, here are the top three ways to stop you over-analysing:

  1. Trust your gut feel: Before you start your analysis session or thinking about your strategic plan, have your top five thoughts jotted down. You will be surprised how bang-on they will be once you review all your data.
  2. Remain within the framework: Contextualise your thinking so that your outputs and recommendations are anchored in something real. Don’t wander off and deliver something irrelevant that no ones wants.
  3. Test your recommendations: Bring in a third party to review your pathway and key slides to make sure that you are not making your work too convoluted.

We are told time and time again by psychologists, trainers and vocational coaches to stop thinking too much. When we over-think things, we fail.  

Next time any one presents a piece of work to you, think about whether it is a well thought out piece of strategic thinking or an over-thought-out misjudged piece of useless tat.   Because one of those documents will inspire you and the other one will be kept in your work cupboard gathering dust.

Pip Stocks is CEO and founder of BrandHook Australia. 

 

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