I’ve not been to Cannes Lions for a couple of years now, but I always keep up with what’s going on through these digestible snapshots of what went on on main stage via their YouTube channel.
Sir John Hegarty
In the below highlights from Day 6 last month, Sir John Hegarty from advertising agency BBH, talks brilliantly and hilariously about the (not so) new fad surrounding the obsession with “big data”.
Refering to advertising in particular he nails is by saying, “Data has always been important….it’s called consumer knowledge. The idea that this is going to be the solution to everything and it will give you the answer is BS.”
He continues that if everyone is looking at the same data, everyone will come to the same conclusions and they’ll all produce the same work.
“The idea of data is to take you to a point, and then you go now what do you think about it? What do you feel about it? It doesn’t have the answer. It just asks a set of questions…….call it what you like but it is just data.”
I’ve always felt the same way about the way people have talked about big data in the realms of digital marketing and PR. In our work with Majestic, the remit has always been to use the plethora of data they provide to ask just those questions. To use it to provide additional holes in a problem down which to travel and find a solution. Whether it be an issue with SEO, market intelligence or an opportunity to discover new opportunities to build relationships with writers and journalists.
Big data is not an end in itself as it doesn’t have all the answers. Businesses need to know how to slice and dice it to answer questions beyond the numbers. And those questions often involve asking your customers and potential customers how they feel, something the great Jim Sterne has always encouraged us to do.
When was the last time you got out from behind your analytics dashboard or scorecard and had a real life conversation with a customer?
Try it. You might be surprised by what you uncover and how it relates (or not) the the data you have.
Until next time,