Seamus Phan signature

Every marketer or client seem to dive into analytics these days. But to what extent should we lean on analytics?

Every conceivable marketing mechanism, whether old school (such as print advertising) or the “latest and greatest” social media platforms, seem to draw up some kind of analytics for marketers to draw conclusions from.

Analytics are nice to have it seems. After all, without analytics of any kind, marketers would find it difficult to justify their marketing expenditure to their bosses, who demand hard facts and figures, and who in turn, are pressured by stakeholders of all kinds to put facts and figures on the table (especially public listed entities).

Don’t get me wrong, analytics to a certain degree are necessary, especially if they are derived from logical and field-tested parameters and acquisition methods. With well-defined parameters and laboriously and properly derived statistics, analytics can be useful.

The trouble begins when someone relies on analytics of any kind as a crutch to counter objections from anyone on their marketing campaigns and programs, or to use as a plausible defense. It should not be.

Perhaps, let us think of analytics from another perspective.

Some of the greatest and most viral campaigns and programs did not really need to rely on analytics to prove any point.

The most recent phenomenon was Psy, the South Korean rapper and singer who shot to fame with his Gangnam Style song and dance routine. His music video variants became some of the most watched online around the world, and even inspired many people to create parody videos of the song and dance.

Did Psy’s success needed analytics to prove a point? No. His wildly successful music video surpassed the necessity to prove its success with mere numbers. His song was launched in July 2012, and by early December 2012, more than 900 million people watched his video, with the song reaching the top in music charts in more than 30 countries worldwide.

Psy is a more unusual personal brand phenomenon in this regard. But he is not alone in how viral campaigns can propel a brand to previously unimaginable heights.

For example, the wildly addictive game Angry Birds from Rovio, had a video (since Mar 22, 2012) to promote its game Angry Birds Space, and the video was watched by more than 12 million people on YouTube, but who’s counting?

Another quirky but popular video came from British Heart Foundation, with the use of actor Vinnie Jones, in the “hands only CPR” campaign. Since the video was launched on Nov 18, 2012, the video was watched by more than 13,000 people by Dec 8, 2012.

So, rather than clinging onto mere analytical numbers for reports, we as practitioners may inspire more by thinking hard about how best to create marketing campaigns that would go insanely viral, and by endearing to more people than we can imagine.

After all, marketing is supposed to be creative and fun. Less counting. Keep the humor and fun up. Keep creating. Keep smiling.