October 26, 2016

Digital Data Denial

One of the great paradoxes of our industry is that the people who are constantly haranguing us with the indispensable role of data are the most active group of data deniers.

Every day there are conferences being staged, meetings being held, and presentations being made at which digital experts are standing up and intentionally misleading the attendees by glossing over or completely ignoring key data about online advertising. To wit...
These are some of the most critical data points about online advertising and they are almost never voluntarily disclosed by anyone in the online ad industry.

Instead, they use misdirection strategies to focus on tangential data that looks material to the undiscerning eye, for example...

1. Sociological data
2. Anecdotes

In the first case, they give us irrelevant sociological data about, for example, how much time people spend with social media. This may be interesting but has nothing to do with the effectiveness of social media marketing as a tactic. We're marketers, not sociologists.

In the second instance they present us with anecdotes disguised as data. We'll hear an amazing case history that is two standard deviations from the norm and is not repeatable. But they imply it is representative and that there are great lessons to be learned from it.

Having critical data is an important component of marketing decision-making. And the people who spend the most time yapping about it seem to be the people most likely to sidestep it.

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