Move away spray and pray, analytics and robotic CMOs have taken over...
I know that half of my advertising budget is wasted, but I’m not sure which half...” this quote has been attributed to the founder of Lever Brothers, LordLever hulme, and has been in print since at least 1897.
We could argue that today things are different as media planners have the means to track every buck spent as analytics and the science of data is changing the way governments, enterprises and brands go about their business in the gadget driven multimedia environment. In fact, the renowned author of Crossing the Chasm & Inside the Tornado and a high technology consultant has stated that without big data analytics, companies are blind and deaf, wandering out onto the web like deer on a freeway. The power of using data analytics can be best demonstrated by a story we have all heard of a household receiving offers for packets and goods normally associated with pregnancy and pregnant mothers. The father of the pregnant girl lambasted the supermarket for sending it, only to learn later that the supermarket knew from the online behaviour of the girl that she was pregnant. Now that is the power of harnessing analytics!.
With more and more consumers searching online and purchasing offline, tracking their behaviour has shown an astounding accuracy in online behaviour and its matching offline purchase. Many economists have compared data and information to probably the most valuable commodity on earth, oil. Data is now called the new oil and just as oil moves the world, so will data. Nobel laureate Robert Coase goes a step further and says that if you torture the data long enough, it will confess.
The power of data is such that data moves everything in today’s highly connected world, from elections to how governments track antisocial elements and terrorists. Data trails feed into online listening posts. However, it should also be kept in mind that data and analytics are very different from statistics. Data is real behaviour and we can measure efficacy, but also do predictive analytics and actually spend to
produce a desired result.
In this scenario, the question to be asked is, with data doing so much, do we need CMOs and business professionals in the age of big data? The answer is yes, as data is dumb unless and until intelligent business insights are mined and acted upon. Analytics and successful analytics-led initiatives are and have been a combination of art and science. And, at the end of the day, you still need human beings to decide allocations, do course correction and off course, take blame or credit for all decisions taken.
“The price of light is less than the cost of darkness,” said Arthur C. Nielsen, a pioneer of modern marketing research and this quote characterizes the challenges in getting organizations to spend on measurement and analytics as they often view it as a cost rather than an investment. These days, investment in data collection technologies may not need to be that high. There are lots of free tools for web analytics, voice-of-the-customer research, site performance measurement, and so on. However,
there is no point collecting data if you don’t have resources to analyse, interpret, and act on it. It’s
not a question of whether you can afford to invest in these resources, as Nielsen said, it’s a question
of whether you can afford not to. This quote should be written in the footer of every business case for investment in analytical resources!