My firm’s in the midst of arguably the coolest proprietary research project in our 21 years of existence.
It involves more than 30 in-depth, qualitative interviews of Fortune 500 CCOs and CMOS. Note my use of the word qualitative.
While digging deep into such darlings of the marketing communications world as earned, owned and paid media along with, of course, digital and Big Data, robotics and A.I. we uncovered a rather interesting disconnect.
I’ve been surprised to hear how many CCOs and CMOS are not only totally overwhelmed by data but highly SKEPTICAL of the resulting analytical findings. As it turns out, they’re not alone.
A recent KPMG survey of the aforementioned cohort revealed that, while 50 percent use data and analytics tools to analyze existing customers, 48 percent to find new ones and 47 percent to develop new products, less than half “don’t TRUST that analytics is actually providing insights beneficial to ANY of these areas.” Talk about an indictment.
I heard this exact skepticism from the CCO of a global manufacturing company. She said she scrutinizes every morsel of analytical data, takes time to conduct her own qualitative research and then relies on her GUT instincts to determine the eventual marcom strategy.
We do the exact same thing for our clients because, frankly, Big Data, no matter how powerful, cannot possibly replace the gut instincts of a seasoned marketing communications professional who’s been through countless wars.
We’ve proved this time and again when, after analyzing the Big Data (and analytics) a client’s research firm has provided, put ourselves in the shoes of constituents and personally experience the brand. We’ve ALWAYS uncovered gaps Big Data missed.
So, I come here not to bury Big Data but, rather, to echo what the very best marketing and communications pros are telling me: Spend all the money you want collecting the data and analyzing it, but DO NOT move forward if the data tells you one thing while your gut says to take a different course of action.
Really appreciate the insight, Mark. Considering you’re one of the founding fathers of modern-day PR-based research, it means a great deal. Best, Steve
Steve, as a career researcher, I agree that there’s no substitute for the “human element.” But data – big or small – provide a foundation for decision making. Data without insights is trivia but I wouldn’t embark on a major communication initiative without it.