Are You Getting Enough (Usable Data)?
posted by Stuart Cumming ~ 28/07/14
Category: Marketing

Data, big or small, is generally not absolute. It requires interpretation, extrapolation (and sometimes inspiration) to create what marketing people refer to as "insights". And from there, those insights need to be tested in a real world context to see if they are indeed the answer to your marketing prayers.

So what means do you have of acquiring data that you can really use?

"Is your Content Strategy written down?"

We've seen a few "expert" articles recently proclaiming Content Strategy and the big data that drives it, as the be all and end all of what everyone should be doing in marketing. So, do you have a Content Strategy? Written down? With goals, timings and KPIs? It would appear not too many companies do. Interesting, when you consider the claim that 20-30% of marketing budgets are meant to be being allocated to this form of communication.

The experts we've been reading recently suggest some important basics to consider.

Andy Lombard, CEO of Socialwhirled suggested on the mediapost blog "A lot of people tend to throw up posts and forget about them as they move on to the next project listed on the content calendar. In fact, your social data can tell you a lot about what people are interested in and what they feel is valuable enough to share."


"You need people"

And on another post Big Data's Bryan Melmed sagely makes the point that "you need people who can apply accumulated expert knowledge to unlock the insights that data, even highly contextualised data, suggests. Without this human element the promise of Big Data will never be realised."

It's a subject close to our heart as we have been working with our own exclusive CASzine technology that enables us to gather a lot of data from B2B content programmes we run for ourselves and B2C campaigns we create for our clients (feel free to contact us if you want to know more detail).

Perhaps the penultimate word should go to Oliver Rees of Torque Data who said at the recent Mumbrella360 conference in Sydney, "There's a perception that big data is like teen sex - no one talks about it, nobody knows how to do it, everybody thinks everyone else is doing it and so claim they are as well." A colourful if not entirely accurate metaphor, Oliver: but point taken.

The ultimate word harks back to the fact that data is not absolute. Nor are the insights extrapolated from them. One man's fish is another man's poisson. Excuse my French. 

The insight behind why one person buys a particular product may or may not be why another does. Content Marketing is perhaps a never-ending process of testing, testing and more testing. Creating more and more varied executions - more targeted marketing. Which is and always has been at the heart of good old-fashioned Direct Marketing.

That said, I'm off to test a few different headlines for this article - the one I have may not appeal to such a sophisticated marketing audience that has the intelligence to read all the way through to this point. What do you think? Comment below.

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