Big Data Point

by Roger Pynn

It isn’t often I disagree with him, but marketing guru Seth Godin seems to have missed something when he wrote about the appeal of big data to mass marketers. While it is true that data analytics rely on what people have done in the past, there’s far more value to that data than just selling the same old thing, or figuring out – as he posits – how to sell them something they never knew they wanted.

Data analysis is essential to:

  • knowing how messages resonate
  • following product/service performance
  • predicting what people want/don’t, and
  • re-tooling products and services to make them better.

The notion that marketers are only using data to pawn junk on unsuspecting “weirdoes” and somehow put up barriers to creativity strikes me as odd, from a guy who often looks in the rearview mirror of marketing to offer insights into how to do the job more creatively and effectively.  His suggestion that data analysis assumes that the past is like the future is like assuming that because a magnifying glass enlarges what you see means the image isn’t relevant.

Perhaps he should play a video game now and then.  Big data is at the heart of what makes games so powerful and creates such realistic atmospheres.  Big data is also at the heart of product development in everything from clothing to cars.  In this age of innovation, big data can answer questions about the past and drive creativity in the future … and may even result in “something awesome.”

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