A chat last week with the Head of Data at a big media company. He’s got somewhere north of 11 million individuals on his files and he and his (growing) team spend their days slicing and dicing this database to provide insights into customer behaviour and promotional data for marketers.
He was very complimentary about the marketing people he worked with. They ask intelligent questions, they make appropriate data selections based on propensity to buy, likelihood of repeat purchase, probable AOV and so on, and are as interested in the minutiae of the results as his analysts.
What he thinks they do wrong though, is look at things through the wrong end of the telescope; they start with what they’re selling and focus on the likely market for their product – “find me customers for product x”. What they should do is use the data to tell them what their products should be – “what will sell to more of our 11 million people”.
That’s something so obviously true that I feel pretty dumb that I hadn’t thought of it before.