Smart marketing is driven in large part by two things; analysis of performance data and the refinement of campaigns based on that data. Goodness knows we love data at DataPartners (hey, it’s in our name), and we’re always advocating that our clients make better decisions by following where the data leads.

However, let’s not forget that any analysis of performance is just a snapshot in time.  The narrower the focus, the more that gets lost in the periphery. Missing the forest for the trees can be downright risky in performance analysis.

Take one example. A new CEO was brought in to “shake things up” as is often the case. The Q1 performance data showed that telemarketing conversions were down significantly from the prior quarter. Concerned by the numbers and spooked by potential issues with do-not-call compliance, the new CEO flatly declared that telemarketing wasn’t working anymore and nixed the program.

That decision proved disastrous come Q2. Sales bottomed out. New client acquisition stalled, and the new CEO was now in the hot seat. How did this happen when telemarketing “wasn’t working” in the first place?

Well, it was working. Had the CEO taken a broader look, it would have been apparent that for the last five years nearly 60% of the company’s quarter-over-quarter new client acquisition came from telemarketing in comparison to other channels. And, the “poor” Q1 performance data?  Those number were actually well in line when compared to Q1 data from prior years.

The moral?  When examining your performance data, make sure to point your camera in landscape mode, not portrait. Performance over time tells the true tale.  And, make sure any data comparison is truly apples to apples. Only then can you say you’ve made a true data-based decision.