Intuition: How To Use It

Your intuition is a gift from God. It’s a key aspect of being creative in the image of a creative God. At the same time, however, when applied randomly, intuition can lead you to develop marketing tactics and strategies that will actually hurt income.

I’ve conducted dozens of “deep dives” into the marketing efforts of Christian ministries. The process is rigorous, thorough and meant to accomplish two major things:

  •  Identify barriers that are preventing the ministry from growing financially, and
  • Uncover new opportunities to grow income.

As a result of these assessments, some key themes have emerged over the years. One of them is that ministries often use intuition to make marketing decisions. The problem is that very often the most successful marketing tactics can be counter-intuitive. Here two examples:

Thank-You Calls — On the surface it certainly makes sense to call donors to thank them for their contributions. However, in A/B tests I’ve seen, thank-you calls actually depress the future giving of donors who received the call. Very strange, I know.

“Dear Friend” Letters — Almost everyone assumes that personalization is better than a “Dear Friend” letter. Dale Carnegie once said the sweetest sound to an individual is the sound of his or her own name. So why wouldn’t we always personalize a fundraising letter? Because we’ve tested this with some clients and in some cases (I’m referring to general donors here, not major donors), “Dear Friend” letters outperformed personalized letters.

If you’re like me, your intuition tells you that thank-you calls and personalization are always good approaches. But testing proves this is not always the case.

On the other hand, should you conclude that thank-you calls and personalization will always hurt results? We know from experience that this isn’t true either.

So where does that leave us?

The key takeaway from my experience is this:

Don’t let your intuition guide your decisions. Let your intuition guide the tests you conduct. 

In the final analysis, you can never be certain of the worthiness of an idea or strategy without testing. Your intuition is a God-given gift.  Use it wisely.

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