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Marketers Shouldn’t Overvalue Big Data

2016 09 02   Peter Feinstein   Online vs Offline Media    

The idea that’s its mission critical to understand every movement and moment of a brand’s consumer journey is incorrect. It ultimately leads to sub-par decision-making and, worse still, paralysis in the face of mass confusion.

Use of Big Data does not guarantee accurate insight into any brand’s consumer pre-purchase behavior, and offers virtually no understanding of consumers’ thought processes. For as nuanced as Big Data purports to get – and the parsing of that data down from a fire hose to a drip line – it’s still incomprehensible and, even more frustratingly, fails to offer enough actionable information to be useful. The consumer path from apathy to purchase is not linear, and even the most gifted coder cannot produce an algorithm that comes close enough approximating the growing fragmentation of stimuli that ask/demand the consumer’s attention on a daily basis.

The brands that say they’d use more offline media if better tools existed clearly have no inkling that there exists a culture of accountability in the pay-per-call, pay-per-lead and pay-per-sale worlds of advertising. They not only are not the province of online media but also have a heritage that always has existed in TV, radio, print and direct mail … and continues to this day.