Analytics Success Takes Work

My world was shattered the day my dad told me no one practiced more than Michael Jordan. I really wanted to be good at basketball just by wanting it. I didn’t want to have to work for it.
Data is similar in that just having data and looking at it doesn’t create a successful direct marketing campaign. It takes trying, failing and trying again and getting smarter.
Here are some good points to keep in mind about data and analytics.

1. Gravity is a Downer
Everything takes work. Nothing is easy. If it were, they wouldn’t need you to do it. Easy things are also mind-numbingly boring.
Things require effort to make and to continue to exist. The natural process is decay. It’s called entropy. If you don’t tend to it (your website, your Twitter account, your customer base) it will dwindle and fade.
2. If It’s Going to Happen, You Have to Do It
I was delighted when I realized I could be an idea person.
Then I found out that ideas are worth less than a dime a dozen. Unless it gets planned, organized, funded and done, an idea is worth less than nothing because somebody’s time was wasted listening to it. If you’re not willing to do the work, why are you here?
Walls get built by putting one brick on top of another for hours and hours and hours.
3. Customers Are Not Inevitable
Customers do not flock. Things do not go viral. Stuff does not jump off the shelves of stores. When that happens, it is not success, it is a MIRACLE!
The process of making prospective customers aware of your product, interested in your product, eager for your product and actually buy your product is a marathon. It takes training, endurance and grit. And you must never, never, never give up.
4. Branding Paves the Way for Sales
I worked for a number of companies run by engineers who knew that if people could just see their product, wallets would open. They saw marketing as an unnecessary expense. They got mad at me for creating marketing materials and couldn’t understand why the other salespeople were always asking to copy my slides, letters or product notes. “You’re supposed to be out there selling! Why are you still in the office?”
Marketing requires branding. Branding requires a company/product to stand for something and then communicate it well. Yes, people spend major amounts of money just to get people to remember their name and that they represent safety or luxury or quality or frugality or reliability, etc. It is money well spent.
Getting people to remember your name and what you represent is massively hard. It takes psychology, sociology, ethnography, empathy, wisdom, insight, creativity and genius. It’s not something that is going to be found in the Tableau visualization of a Hadoop Cluster in the Cloud.
5. Data is Not Magic
Data will never create great, resonant marketing campaigns. Only humans can do that and it’s really, really hard to do!
Talk to anybody in the ad biz about the greatest ads of all time and inevitably you’ll hear about Apple’s “1984” spot. It was awesome. It was shown only once… in 1984… and it is still held up as an icon. Real creativity takes real heart.
Big Data is not magic either. It’s cool and exciting, but humans are still required to figure out what data to collect and what to ask the machine. Real data creativity takes real heart.
6. Data is Not Evil
Money is not evil. It’s the love of money you have to watch out for, just like data.
Data does not dehumanize marketing. Just as Photoshop does not dehumanize painting, advertising and marketing are enhanced by data as long as it is not used to the exclusion of creativity and soul.
The reason were are so focused on measuring what people do (click, click, tweet, post, click) is because that’s the information we have. It’s so much better than what we had before.
Previously, we could measure if they bought something – now, we can measure if they are considering buying something.
(via ClickZ)