Psychology delves into the depths of human behavior, revealing that our emotions drive our actions while logic merely follows along to rationalize our choices post facto. This psychological principle extends its influence into the realm of marketing, demonstrating that humans attribute personality traits to brands just as they do to people. Selecting your favorite brand is akin to choosing your best friend or life partner, as it elicits emotions and feelings within you.
However, emotions often cloud our judgment, especially when we are faced with tasks that may inflict internal turmoil. For instance, delivering constructive criticism or parting ways with something we hold dear, such as scrapping a cherished topic from our team’s content calendar.
Nonetheless, there is a method to subdue this emotional bias, a thought process characterized by its sheer objectivity and data-driven nature. It’s called the rational decision-making model, and it serves as a guide for making decisions founded on logic, even in circumstances of great consequence, such as a complete overhaul of your blogging strategy.
Before we embark on an exploration of the steps in this powerful decision-making process, let’s first elucidate what rational decision-making entails and understand its significance.
What is Rational Decision Making?
Rational decision-making is a problem-solving methodology that prioritizes objectivity and logic over subjectivity and intuition to accomplish a specific objective. The primary goal of rational decision-making is to identify a problem, evaluate various alternatives, and arrive at a solution.
In the digital marketing sphere, possessing the skill of rational decision-making is of paramount importance. Human beings are inherently emotional creatures, and our biases and beliefs can obscure our perception of reality. Thankfully, data acts as a clarifying lens through which we can view the world. It liberates us from the need to rely on our assumptions and allows us to discern what our audience genuinely appreciates about our brand.
Rational Decision-Making Model: 7 Easy Steps
Step 1: Verify and Define Your Problem
To assert the existence of a problem, you must furnish evidence. Many marketers believe that data holds the key to diagnosing any issue in their strategy. However, it’s not enough to possess data; you must derive meaningful insights from it to substantiate your claims. Without insights, you’re merely staring at numbers in a spreadsheet. To pinpoint the precise problem, collect a substantial amount of data related to your area of concern and subject it to meticulous analysis to reveal any noteworthy patterns or trends.
“After analyzing our blog traffic report, we now understand why our traffic has stagnated over the past year. While our organic traffic experiences slight month-over-month growth, our email and social traffic have been declining.”
Step 2: Research and Brainstorm Possible Solutions
Broadening your pool of potential solutions enhances your chances of resolving the problem. To uncover as many potential solutions as possible, you should amass a wealth of information pertaining to the problem, drawing from your own knowledge as well as external sources. Brainstorming with others can also prove invaluable in uncovering additional viable solutions.
Potential Solution 1: “We could focus on simultaneously increasing organic, email, and social traffic.”
Potential Solution 2: “We could concentrate on enhancing email and social traffic simultaneously since organic traffic exhibits steady month-over-month growth, while email and social traffic are on the decline.”
Potential Solution 3: “Focusing solely on social traffic might yield better results as it’s easier to grow compared to email and organic traffic. Additionally, we already have a substantial Facebook following, allowing us to reach a large audience.”
Potential Solution 4: “Concentrating exclusively on increasing email traffic could be a feasible approach, given its relative ease of growth in comparison to social and organic traffic. Moreover, we already have 250,000 blog subscribers, providing a substantial reader base.”
Potential Solution 5: “Prioritizing the augmentation of organic traffic emerges as the most straightforward path to enhance our blog’s overall traffic. Our website boasts a high domain authority, with Google accounting for a significant chunk of our traffic. Furthermore, the recent implementation of a pillar-cluster model is poised to attract a substantial readership from Google.”
Step 3: Set Standards of Success and Failure for Potential Solutions
Establishing benchmarks for gauging the success or failure of potential solutions allows for the identification of those capable of resolving the problem. However, these standards should be realistic and attainable; excessively stringent criteria may render it impossible to identify a solution. For this reason, it’s crucial that these standards be practical, quantifiable, and well-focused.
“If any of our solutions can yield a 10% increase in total traffic, we should deem it a viable means of overcoming our traffic stagnation.”
Step 4: Flesh Out the Potential Results of Each Solution
In this step, it’s imperative to delineate the consequences associated with each potential solution. Create a table outlining the strengths and weaknesses of each alternative, and then proceed to compare them. Additionally, prioritize your solutions in a list, arranging them in descending order based on their likelihood of solving the problem effectively.
Potential Result 1: “Simultaneously focusing on growing organic, email, and social traffic could yield substantial returns. However, our team lacks the requisite time and resources to optimize all three channels effectively.”
Potential Result 2: “Concentrating on increasing email and social traffic concurrently is likely to result in a marginal rise in overall traffic, as these two channels collectively account for only 20% of our total traffic.”
Potential Result 3: “Channeling our efforts into growing social traffic by posting a blog every day on Facebook poses a challenge. The platform doesn’t prioritize links in the news feed, and social traffic accounts for a mere 5% of our blog traffic. Pursuing a strategy centered on social media alone would yield minimal results.”
Potential Result 4: “Focusing on boosting email traffic by sending two emails per day to our blog subscribers is a formidable task, given that we already dispatch a daily email to subscribers. Moreover, email traffic constitutes a mere 15% of our blog traffic. Concentrating on email alone would generate meager results.”
Potential Result 5: “Emphasizing the expansion of organic traffic by targeting high-search-volume keywords for all our new posts represents the most straightforward approach to augmenting our blog’s overall traffic. We possess a robust domain authority, with Google accounting for 80% of our total traffic. The recent implementation of a pillar-cluster model further bolsters our position. Prioritizing organic traffic promises the most substantial results.”
Step 5: Choose the Best Solution and Test It
In light of the evaluation of potential solutions, select the most promising one and put it to the test. This stage also provides an opportunity to monitor preliminary results.
“Focusing exclusively on organic traffic appears to be the most effective and feasible strategy for us. Let’s initiate a testing phase with an organic-only approach, generating new content that targets keywords with existing or potential search volume, and aligning with our pillar cluster model.”
Step 6: Track and Analyze the Results of Your Test
It is crucial to meticulously track and analyze the outcomes of your test to determine whether the chosen solution effectively resolved the problem.
“After a month of testing, our blog traffic has increased by 14%, with organic traffic registering a growth of 21%.”
Step 7: Implement the Solution or Test a New One
If the test substantiates that your chosen solution successfully addressed the problem, then implementing it represents the most rational course of action. This will enable the comprehensive resolution of the existing problem and may also provide insights into tackling related issues in the future. However, if the solution falls short of resolving the problem, it’s time to test another potential solution from your arsenal.
“The results from an exclusive focus on organic traffic have exceeded our predetermined threshold of success. Henceforth, we will pivot to an organic-only strategy, generating new blog content that caters to current or prospective search volume and aligns with our pillar cluster model.”
Avoiding Bias with a Rational Decision-Making Process
As humans, it’s entirely natural for our emotions to take the helm during the decision-making process. This isn’t inherently problematic, as emotional decisions can sometimes outshine logical ones. Yet, when circumstances call for prioritizing logic over emotion, equipping your mind with the rational decision-making model can serve as a valuable tool. It aids in the suppression of emotional bias, fostering objectivity to the greatest extent possible.