Data doesn’t tell you why

imagesAccording to Comscore in April 2013, 14 million people in the U.S. were mobile-only internet users, and the Top 100 digital media properties on average attracted an incremental mobile audience of 42%. Yeah? So?  Data like this is free all over the Internet but what good is this data if you don’t understand the how and why behind the numbers ?  Marketers need to stop chasing numbers and ask more questions about why and “what does this mean for us?”.

As I sat through a presentation from a big agency last week I noticed that most of the slides contained data on the numbers of people who use their smartphones etc.  When they were done with their data dump I asked the hard question which was “tell me how this is relevant to this business?”.  Their reply, after looking at each other, was, “well mobile could be an important part of your online marketing if done right”.  Sorry but until my audience indicates that they want us to engage them on their smartphones mobile would be a waste of money.


For every piece of data that is presented I could present data that shows their data is irrelevant. For example 56% of online ads are never seen by consumers or 35% of mobile ads are accidentally clicked or 80% of consumers don’t want mobile ads on their devices.   The key point is data means little without understanding the numbers from a consumers standpoint.  I am not about to recommend that they invest money in mobile because of the numbers without first understanding if the program can meet business objectives without intruding on consumers time.

Old school marketing metrics such as reach and frequency may or may not be relevant to your brand but someone has to have the intelligence to understand what reach and frequency does to consumer behavior.  Those sickening Progressive commercials are all over TV but what good do they do when there are over 100,000 hits on Google for Progressive sucks ?

Progressive sucks

Data can be an ally but it can also lead marketers to make the wrong decisions.  For me it will always be about MY customers and MY audience and understanding THEIR needs and wants.

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