Data is the new black

It used to be that a relentless focus on your product or service was good enough.

It used to be that if a new competitor emerged you had lots of time to study, strategize and respond.

It used to be that one size could fit many.

It used to be that you could successfully run just about any business by intuition.

Today, if you aren’t capturing relevant data about your customers’ attitudes, behaviors and preferences you are flying blind.

Today, if you haven’t developed an actionable consumer segmentation that you use to constantly evolve your value proposition you are falling behind your best in class competition.

Today, you need a complete view of your customer as she navigates multiple channels and touch points.

Today, useful data enables you to treat different customers differently.

To be sure, data by itself is not insight. And having insight does not automatically translate into action.

But it is the foundation.

And more and more, those brands with the best customer insight, combined with solid intuition and the willingness to take action, have the ultimate competitive advantage.



3 thoughts on “Data is the new black

  1. Data, customer insights, action…we all heard that mantra before. Using a very data and quant-based approach does not change the simple truth that it’s all backwards-looking. And how does one apply that mantra effectively to fashion industry that is very forward-looking? Unless, of course, every retail company replicates Zara’s highly reactive, “just in time” business model.

    In my opinion, it’s important to differentiate when it makes sense to rely on data and when it’s best to go with the “good old gut feeling” or qualitative research mechanisms.

    Who knows! It could be the reason for Gap’s closing of 20% of its retail — their army of business analysts sat there in San Fran Embarcadero office crunching data and creating algorithms instead of taking to the streets and observing customers in their natural environment.

  2. I agree that one must be careful not to overly rely on quantitative analytics, and there is always the danger that inferences can be unduly backward looking.

    But it also true that there are many situations where highly accurate predictions can be made from historical data. Art must be applied to the science, but there is plenty of evidence that intuition is frequently wrong.

    Knowing that I jumped from the top of a building moments ago and knowing the law of gravity is relying on historical data, but I feel pretty confident that with the right data I could predict when I’m going to hit the ground.

  3. I agree….. and disagree… about it being all about data or all about data interpretation/analysis or about ‘gut instinct’. I believe the problem has risen because of a huge shift in public ‘marketing awareness’. We used to adhere to the model of ‘build it and they will come’ for products and services. Now, because of a much more knowledgeable/experienced public, we have to selectively market to segments and not try to do a one size fits all. Or the customer will make it fit because they need it. And because of this shift, historical data is not always accurate. Hence we tend to use gut instinct more often when data does not fulfill our need for information. That is probably the key to future customer interactions: good, appropriate data must be melded with experience and knowledge to be effective in making business decisions.

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