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Data, Data, Data

Earlier this month the annual #4AsStratFest was held in the Big Apple and brought with it Strategists, Planners, Founders, CMOs and the like from across the U.S. and globe.

This year’s theme, “Data + Humanity Planning Re-Defined” focused on the role planning and humanity play in the new data filled reality that is 2017. Speakers and sessions re-enforced the things that we all deal with each day, so we have this data now what do we do with it? And what that means for the non-Amazons, Googles, and Facebooks of the world.

Two sessions in particular centered around what happens when data misses the mark. One Fireside Chat “The Power of the Middle – Marketing to the Heartland Post Election 2017” highlighted that it isn’t just political parties that miss the mark on data, and why the industry should and has to pay attention to the ‘new heartland’. But it’s not just the middle of the country data misses, during her session “Understanding Black Twitter: Why Cultural Resonance & Perspective Have Become So Important in Advertising”, God-is Rivera, highlighted the power of social media not merely as a platform of awareness and connectedness but how for minorities and historically underrepresented populations its serves as its own heaven of protection, reinforcement, celebration, pop culture, and activism.

I found myself more than once thinking, “well of course data doesn’t give you the whole picture, who would ever think it does?” however during his talk “Designing a Creative Map with Big Data” Viacom Senior VP of Data Strategy Kodi Foster summarized just how easily it is to slip down the wormhole of data story telling. Foster spoke of an established brand looking for ideas for its newest TV campaign, the brand used data from social media to create the structure for its campaign. The story the data told was that a certain celebrity family as well as social protests and activism were what their target audience shared, liked, and talked about on their news feeds and timelines. How much easier could it get? Add one celebrity with a dash of protest sprinkled with little bit of product, it has to be a slam dunk, right? Foster then explained that if the now infamous Kendall Jenner Pepsi flop is any indicator, what people share and like don’t tell the full story, it’s the people behind the screen that tell it.

In this new data infused age, it’s the marker and market researcher’s job to do more with data than just present it. We have to find those details no matter how finite, and utilize all voices to present complete stories and profiles that allow us to foster and create innovative and compelling insights and solutions for the complex problems of today’s marketing landscape.

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