The Seductiveness of Data. As my good friend and author Mitch Joel says, “when businesses and professionals hear words like ‘data’, ‘analytics’, and ‘loyalty programs’ their eyes tend to glaze over. Then again, there is nothing sexier about a hyper-loyal customer, and how they spread the good will of a brand.”
Data is being witlessly generated by everything around us at all times – every time we interact with the Internet, use our mobile phones (texts, pictures, videos, GPS, etc.), change the temperature on our Nest thermostats, order laundry detergent from our Amazon Dash, call up a show on Netflix… let alone every infinitesimal social media exchange producing it. Data arrives from multiple sources at a staggering velocity, volume and variety.
Data – information in its most basic form – is the modern foundation for uncovering customer insights and the quintessential building block of effectual marketing. But simply gathering and analyzing information alone is not sufficient for understanding your customers. Data must be woven into a persuasive story that engages and compels both internal audiences and the marketplace at large.
Data analytics has emerged as an essential tool for business, government and humankind to leverage the oceans of accessible data. Along with challenging economic climates and the accelerating pace of change, many organizations hope to use sophisticated analytics tools and data to surf the relentless waves of transformation.
I’ve met more ‘data scientists’ lately than I can fathom, and we’re conversing on topics around “actionable insights,” “natural language processing,” “machine learning” and “prescriptive analytics.” That has to correlate with the fact that Gartner finds that in 2016, the demand for data and analytics resources will reach 5 million jobs globally. The emerging role of data scientist is meant to deal with the massive amounts of data we are trying to understand, as every day, we now create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data – so much in fact, that 90% of the data in the world has been created in the last two years alone.
Data is an enabler not an answer within itself. It allows us to stop looking to segmentation to help define customer strategies, as we know that no two customers are the same. It enables us to change the way we target customers and allows us to impel hyper-personalized messaging. That said, data is only as good as the intelligence we glean from it, and that necessitates effective data analytics and a whole lot of computing muscle to manage the exponential increase in volume. As Albert Einstein famously said, “Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.”
The future – when we fully comprehend the science of data and can marry it holistically with the art of marketing, we will achieve enlightenment – or at least, a place where the brand and customer become friends with benefits.
Michael Chase, CMO
St. Joseph Communications
RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES – TAKEN FROM A VARIETY OF SOURCES, INCLUDING WIKIPEDIA, SAAMA AND CMA 2016