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Evidence-guided (over opinion-based) marketing

Article originally published in September 2023 by Stuart Brameld. Most recent update in September 2023.

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How do you know what the right marketing activities to focus on? How do you know which are the right experiments to run?

How you answer these questions says a lot about your team – are you blindly implementing the opinions of people seemingly smarter and more experienced than you, or following ideas rooted in research, test results and learnings?

Itamar Gilad describes these two kinds of companies as evidence-guided and opinion-based, and whilst the concepts were developed during two decades spent in product management and engineering roles at companies including Google and Microsoft, they can equally be applied to growth marketing and experimentation.

What Itamar is getting at here is two very different kinds of companies – those that rely heavily on opinions in decision-making, and those that rely on evidence.

Opinion-basedEvidence-guided
Rely on opinionsRely on evidence
Hide uncertaintyEmbrace uncertainty
Focus on output metricsFocus on outcome metrics
Prioritise planning and executionPrioritise hypotheses and idea evaluation
Plans dictated by smart people making blind betsPlans rooted in data, logic and evidence
A planning mindsetAn experimentation mindset

“Evidence-guided companies understand there’s a lot of uncertainty in the game and are tilting the odds in their favor. Opinion-based companies are effectively placing blind bets on a roulette table. You may get rich both ways, but one works much more consistently.”

Itamar Gilad

Itamar strongly believes product development is full of uncertainty, and that by rooting decisions in evidence, you are dramatically increasing your chances of success.

“Done right, evidence-guided approaches improve resource efficiency, reduce planning time, suppress politics, build trust, empower people and teams, and, most importantly, deliver value to the business and to the customers faster.”

Itamar Gilad

We believe marketing is also full of uncertainty, and advocate for a similar evidence-guided (rather than opinion-based) approach.

For more information see Itamar’s new book – Evidence Guided: Creating High-Impact Products in the Face of Uncertainty. You can also find Itamar on LinkedIn here and on Twitter here.