Put the obsession with data and digital on the back-burner, just a while, and do something different
Having never been one for keeping too many records lying about, The Blogfather sticks it to data this week, and wants to ask you something.
I’m trying to recall the times I’ve seen an ad online and made a purchase. Can’t honestly think of one.
Here’s a question.
You have a choice.
Between some "top-notch", free data. Tonnes of it.
And a face-to-face meeting with just one person.
The data is good shizzle; a thousand in-depth digital profiles of people who are your ideal customer, targetable in many ways, and not like the questionable data that inadvertently led to me being chased around the internet by Ellie Goulding and Pantene Pro V a few weeks ago.
The face-to-face meeting came about via a chance encounter, in the
Seventh Heaven massage parlour, Stoke a local business networking conference. There’s mutual interest, and a spark of a good feeling. It could result in a happy ending (I’m so sorry).
So, what would you choose?
Granted, the data could lead to a dozen or so face-to-face meetings in itself, or a hundred sales, if used well, but you could easily crash and burn and be left with nothing.
As I often do, I perused Dave Trott’s latest offering this week, as succinct and thought-provoking as ever. One phrase he used in the blog stuck in my head:
“…reducing people to mere data.”
As is his wont, Dave pulled something out of the past, looked at it from a new angle, and saw its relevance to the here and now; a McDonald’s law suit for spilt, scalding coffee. The jury in the case came down on the side of the injured individual, after encountering McDonald’s callous view on how many human injuries it takes for them to start thinking their product has a problem (700 is not enough, apparently).
Some things seriously perplex me. I just can’t understand how they came about, for example:
• Bing.com (rarely used, and only to search for ‘Google’ when trying to immediately escape it, being too lazy to click into the web address bar)
•Jon Culshaw having such a prolonged career in TV when he can’t really do a single accurate impression
•The obsession with data
I’m beginning to get somewhat disillusioned by the data hoo-hah and its usage. After tentatively singing the praises of Google AdWords in my last blog, I subsequently read an article this week on how Google were rigging search results to put adverts selling their own wares (Chrome laptops etc.) at the top of the results. Sigh.
I’m trying to recall the times I’ve seen an ad online and made a purchase. Can’t honestly think of one. I’m trying to think of the times I’ve been targeted by an ad for something I’ve already bought and I’m wearing already, because the mercurial, omniscient, omnipresent data just isn’t good enough to realise this. Quite a few times.
Who can we trust for spewing forth our data into the digital ether? I’m not sure. If the owners of the platform that pretty much has a monopoly on search engines are rigging the ad-bid algorithms and making our ads placed with precious data worthless…
But maybe the problem is not the data itself, but how it is used. Most may assume you use data digitally. You can use it differently. We’ve recently used data to send people something of relevance to them and their business. Something of use, something physical that you can touch, that is intriguing and arouses curiosity to be opened and explored.
What was this? Direct Mail.
Of course, as with everything, there is good and bad DM, but we like to think we’ve earned our DM stripes. We’ll rustle up a couple of new case studies and share them with you soon, so watch this space, but suffice to say they struck an emotional chord in the recipients, and led to some very positive face-to-face meetings for our clients that were, well, of a quality like the one in my hypothetical question.
Oh, and in going back to my original question, I would choose the one-off physical meeting, of course. Getting in front of someone seems to be less and less valued, but it is hugely important.
If you are of the same inclination, then give us a call, and you can come meet us boat race-to-mug.
Then we can set about creating ‘we wish we’d thought of that’ envy in your competitors.