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Elevator thoughts. Do we really need all this data?

Updated: Jan 23

The other night I was at a friend’s house for dinner when the subject of ‘cookies’, the collection of user information and web browsing habits being collected came up. To my surprise, people who do not work in the marketing industry were shocked at the amount of information that was being collected.

In fact, one of them very concerned at this revelation asked how they could go about having their digital footprint deleted. ‘I don’t want brands to know this much about me’, they remarked.

That got me thinking. We put together these intricate marketing campaign plans based on all this data and information we have, thinking that we are able to ensure that the communication we are delivering to customers is what they want to see from us.

Do we have too much data that we have somehow convinced ourselves our marketing efforts will be even better than before?

Now just to be clear I’m not saying data is bad, on the contrary I’m saying having visibility to consumer habits helps us make informed decisions. But when it also dictates creative output & messaging that’s where I think brands miss the point.

The issue with having too much data is that not everyone is trained to decipher it. There is not a lot of talent that look at it in the market place today and look for markers that can be turned into creative kick starters. Instead what you have is planners and account handlers that take the information at face value and start ticking the campaign check list. Age check, gender check, media habits check, brand association check and so forth….

Now more than ever brands are under pressure to drive results. Now more than ever consumer’s social feeds and digital road maps are saturated with brand after brand trying to get their attention.

So it is now more than ever that brands need to step up and separate themselves from the clutter.

We talk about consumers today being less brand loyal. Is that not obvious given that every brand interaction is a sales pitch? That every brand interaction feels inauthentic? Feels curated to where the customer is in his purchase journey, if he is actually on this purchase journey.

Here is a simple example.

In the old days people used to go window shopping. They had no intention to buy, just browse the shelves thinking that maybe in a few months when I have saved a little or there is an occasion I will go back to the store and buy it. Simpler times.

Today’s modern version of window shopping is browsing the net. You visit a site, just browsing seeing what is out there, you spend a little bit of time on a few sites… then you leave and open your social media site still in ‘disconnect mode’ only to be bombarded by in-market advertising from the sites you were on, pushing the same products you were looking at. Brands reading the data and assuming that this is what you as a consumer wants.

Forcing the relationship because the bottom line expects it.

But just pause and think about what Sir Richard Branson once said ‘’Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention; striking chords with people to stir their emotions; and commitment to imagination. It is easy to be cynical about such things, much harder to be successful.”



#data #marketing #brands #consumers

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