Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Do the research. Make the decision. Take action!

Ogilvy on judgement

Here’s a very quick tip, to help you turn your feedback or research, into results.

I want to start by asking you a question: What role does research play in your business? I find that many small business owners will make big decisions, without doing any form of structured research. Others will do enormous amounts of research, yet fail to interpret the data and then act on it.

Making a judgement call

In my experience, a balance between those two approaches needs to be struck if you want to make profitable decisions. Do the research and study the data, then decide what plan of action to take and take it. This means making a judgement call.

This is something, which advertising legend, David Ogilvy, correctly identified as being rare:

I notice increasing reluctance on the part of marketing executives to use judgment; they are coming to rely too much on research, and they use it as a drunkard uses a lamp post for support, rather than for illumination.
~ David Ogilvy

Why is using one’s judgement so rare?

Because the person with the courage to make a judgement call, risks calling it wrong. This stops a lot of people. After all, if they fail to make a decision, they can’t call it wrong. Of course, it also means they can’t call it right.

Here’s the message behind this post. I want to share with you, the pattern I see time and again, with the most successful decision makers.

It looks like this:

  • They do the research.
  • Collect the data.
  • Interpret it.
  • Make the decision.
  • Back it up with action.
  • Then measure the feedback from their actions and learn from it.

No, this is not as easy as it sounds. This is why those who do it, set themselves apart from those who refuse to leave their comfort zones. It is, however, extremely effective.

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  1. I am a big researcher. Reading and listening to find the answers, soaking it all up like a sponge. I have to remind myself, though, to test what I read and judge from that. It can be too easy to just take everything and go with it without using your own judgement on the content.

    Thanks Jim!

  2. I think it is important to carry a degree of self awareness to know what your natural tendency is…

    Then you can guard against either impulsivity or passivity. My tendencies swing depending on what business activity you are talking about it… I will risk myself in some ways (sometimes foolishly) and in other ways I am particularly guarded,

    For example: When it comes to involving others in my business I have a reluctance based in fear; but when it comes to spending money I tend towards recklessness.

    Knowing yourself is important.

    Great post Jim… it really got me thinking… thanks for all you do…


    • Hi, Geoff. Yes, it pays to be self aware – to know where we are strong and less strong.

      Thanks for the kind words, sir.

  3. Shahrukh Najeeb

    May 29, 2013 at 19:27

    Thanks a lot for the tip Jim

Comments are closed.