The new frontier of data is full of possibilities, but marketers need to be aware that not all data is created equal, a leading marketing scientist warns.
Associate professor and director of the not-for-profit Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, Dr Rachel Kennedy, told attendees at the Data Strategy Symposium in the Hunter Valley that the scale and range of data sets available to marketers to understand customer behaviour is “awesome”, but that it can’t simply be taken as face value.
The institute, which is based out of the University of South Australia, researches marketing as a discipline as well as brand and buyer behaviour. Kennedy’s recent examples of work included studies on the accuracy and value of biometrics, neuroscience and virtual shopping.
“People used to think the world was flat until they saw enough data points to know that actually it is round. We’re at that point in marketing where there is a completely new way of thinking about it,” she said.
“We have an enormous capacity to store information that we didn’t in the past, and new ways of searching it that didn’t exist before. It is an exciting world, but it’s very easy to drown in this data. You can have years stored, but still not get the knowledge out of that data. I see a lot of that around the world – people are looking at the magician’s hands and not seeing the big picture because they don’t know what to look for.
“Even the best data doesn’t lead to the right decisions if you don’t know how to look at it.”