Business Insight – Big Blue or Big Data

Big Blue or Big Data?
By Roger La Salle

Violent agreement
My blog on the definition of marketing drew a fantastic response with almost universal agreement that this was the best definition most people had seen.

So we have a definition!
It seems once we agree on what marketing is, and is trying to achieve, then the rest is simply (or perhaps not so simply), how you do it.

Of course there are many mechanisms.

We have all learned the five P’s:
• Product
• Price
• Place
• Promotion
• People

What’s first?
Assuming you actually have a product you wish to sell, advertising in some form is usually the most common customer engagement tool. Obviously if nobody knows you exist there is little chance of a sale.

However, this is where it gets difficult, expensive and somewhat “hit and miss”, or at least that’s how it was in the past.

Traditionally
Both radio and television are the most common promotional means but people are literally “turning off” as we are saturated with advertisers invading our space and time. Even in cricket, where one may have thought an advertisement after every over was sufficient, now we are even getting ads between balls. Indeed, my conspiracy theory is that six rather than eight ball overs were internationally standardised (even at the height of cricket being criticised as being too slow) to provide more advertising time. What next?

Radio, especially in cars, is very effective and in many cases more expensive than TV advertising. In cars there is no escape and driving in traffic is boring, to say the least.

Social media is the new form of getting attention and has more reach to the teens and gen y’s, but again, users are often transparent to the ads. However if you can manage to win their attention, the power of spreading the word via the social media is unstoppable and moreover, tracking the cut through of e-advertising is all powerful. Never before were advertisers able to so accurately see the readership of the message.

Big Data, or data collection resulting from e-connectivity heralds the ability to see and measure effects, something that advertisers, or perhaps more to the point, clients, have been wanting for decades. Well now it is here.

Interpreting “Big Data”
In an address some time ago Professor Freek Vermeulen gave an interesting insight into big data and “statistical Bias”.

It is commonly thought that porpoises have a great love of saving fisherman lost at sea as their boat sinks beneath them. There are many stories of porpoises literally pushing such people to shore and literally saving them from certain death. The conclusion, porpoises save people.

But is this really the case?

In an experiment a large ball was thrown into a pool of swimming porpoises and what was observed was that porpoise simply love pushing things around in the water. They push things everywhere, it’s obviously great fun.

The research also showed that most likely just as many overboard fisherman that were pushed to shore were likely pushed further out to see and downed. However, because the data set we receive is only from the fisherman saved by porpoises we conclude; porpoise save people?

In other words, beware of simplistic interpretation of Big Data and so called “statistical bias”.

A new Paradigm
In the past advertising has been about being noticed and sending the message the marketers thought appropriate, such as Coke represents fun, McDonalds represents kids, Volvo represents safety and so on. Well this is changing fast, new buyers are voting in droves on “likes” and recommendations. The time for “snake oil” products is long gone. Big Data represents the new paradigm, but with a sting in the tail for adverting agencies. The work of these companies can now be measured and judged on real outcomes like never before with quantitative measures that can readily be obtained.

To win in marketing a new form of e-based customer engagement is needed, simple saturation push marketing is now passé.

Marketing, like any other product needs to be innovated endlessly.

Think change, think differently and think new opportunity and new ways of customer engagement.

Be assured, there is always a better way.

****** END ******

Roger La Salle, is the creator of the “Matrix Thinking”™ technique and is widely sought after as an international speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development. He is the author of four books, Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australian and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panelist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast. Matrix Thinking is now used in more than 26 countries and licensed to Deloitte, one of the world’s largest consulting firms. www.matrixthinking.com

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