Customers Don’t Give a S@&# About Data. 


At Inman San Francisco 2016, I got to give a talk about the power of data in consumer engagement.  Paradoxically, it was called: “Customers Don’t Give a S@*# About Data.” And it’s true.  They don’t.

There are several things happening simultaneously in the lives of consumers today compared to ten years ago.  The first is that they are bombarded with messaging, content, chatter, clutter, and noise.

No kidding.

The second is that their ability to discover content is like no other time in history.  Consumers dictate, to a certain extent, the volume, pace, and selection of content they choose to engage in.

Gone are the days of three TV channels where we had to wait through commercials to get to the 18 minutes of Seinfeld or Friends.  Now we start and stop content when it’s convenient for us.  We fast forward through time outs in sports, we stream movies at 2AM, and we prefer to watch the best five minutes of the Tonight Show on YouTube over breakfast rather than sit through the entire show at night.

All content that’s out there – whether it’s a podcast or an advertisement – now goes through an internal filter.  “What do I think of this?” “Do I want to invest time in this?’  “Is this worth it?”

No wonder in a recent poll, 68% of respondents said the biggest factor when making a purchase decision was themselves.  Specifically: “It’s about me.  What I’m feeling.”

So it’s true.  Consumers don’t care about data.  They care about themselves.   And this is preciously why you must care about data.

Hal Varian, chief economist at Google put it this way:

The ability to take data – to be able to understand it process it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate it – is going to be a hugely important skill in the next decades.

Who cares about data?

What does data have to do with successfully communicating to a self-involved, discerning consumer base?  Everything.   Data gives you the power to engage through targeting, insight, and personalization.

Consumers now want messaging that feels like it was created just for them.  Data is the fuel that will enable us to do that.  And that’s important for all of us, because consumers are focusing more on themselves especially, and crucially, while making purchase decisions.

Here's the video from the presentation.

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