This one’s really for everybody, not just marketers, but I think that marketers are in an unusually good position to make good on it, if we choose to.

I resolve to acknowledge uncertainty, and to remedy it with experimental data.

In a field full of (largely self-proclaimed) experts, keystones, linchpins, growth hackers, gurus, rockstars, wizards and ninjas, I find the idea that we don’t know as much as we think we know oddly comforting. Why comforting? Because in most cases, we can actually check our assumptions and separate what we know from what we think we know: stuff like AB testing, rapid prototyping and focus groups, to name just a few.

outlook foggy

Conveniently, the MIT Sloan Management Review hit my mailbox just this week with a piece titled “Embrace Your Ignorance.” The subhead reads, “Today’s savviest executives acknowledge that most of the time, they can’t accurately predict what their customers will want, like or need. That’s where experiments come in.” Could humility be the new hallmark of hot executives?

We’ve been brought up with an idea of leaders as strong and decisive. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as the source of the decision lies in data, not gut or divine inspiration.