If you’re not a big fan of data-driven marketing, I hope this post changes your mind. You really need to embrace data or else you’ll only end up groping (and possibly even stumbling) in the dark. Yes, there’s nothing sexy about breaking down data and crunching numbers, but these things don’t have to feel like a tedious chore. In fact, you can think of the whole art of data-driven marketing as a welcomed hobby — like the pursuit of taking perfect selfies.

As it turns out, this analogy isn’t really that far-fetched at all.

There’s a lot of reasons why many marketers have yet to let data take the wheel rather than just let it flash on the campaign dashboard. But all these point to one underlying trend: marketers have a perception problem toward the data-driven approach. This tends to outweigh any real value that data can put on the table. Luckily much of this is simply hormone-induced morning anxiety and not really grounded in reality.

Data-driven marketing is much more doable than you think. To hit the point home, let’s strip this approach down to the bare essentials and place it side by side with something straightforward like snapping photos of yourself. The similarities are striking:

1. It’s all about the right focus. That’s rule #1 in the fine art of taking selfies. It all comes down to finding the right angle and sticking to it until it no longer works. In marketing terms, this translates to staying with your objectives, audience, channels, and metrics. Anything beyond these is only a distraction or a false signal.

2. Connecting is what matters. Here’s a celebrity selfie tip for you: make eye contact with the camera. It’s the best way to easily connect with anyone viewing the image. That’s pretty much what you’re trying to achieve in marketing — to really connect with your audience. Think of data as a means to help you accurately cast your gaze where it’s most likely going to get a response.

3. It’s a trial and error process. When sharing his secrets to taking great selfies on Conan, actor Val Kilmer jokingly said: ‘First, you have to take 30,000 pictures of yourself.’ Of course, that’s a gross exaggeration, but it does shed some light on the trial-and-error nature of taking selfies. The same can be said of data-driven marketing. Sometimes, it’s really just a series of corrected mistakes. Don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first time.

4. Results always trump effort. No matter how great you think your self-portrait is, it’s not worth much without the likes, shares, and comments it generates online. In a similar way, your data-driven marketing campaigns won’t mean anything without the responses, leads, or customers they produce. No matter how much you’ve put in, it’s always the output that has the final say.

5. It pays to automate a bit. Apps really lend a big hand when taking selfies. With features ranging from basic photo editing all the way to gesture-recognition, apps make the process easier and the output better in a similar way that a CRM platform makes your life as a data marketer much simpler.

I hope this post leads you to at least reconsider how you think of data-driven marketing. At the heart of it all, it’s really nothing more than a means for bringing out the best in your marketing campaigns — exactly like snapping a photo.