So here we are, halfway through 2013. You, along with everyone, are still trying to find that magic formula to find the perfect 360-degree view of your clients. You have diligently sought out every feed of data you can get your hands on, analyzed it all every which way you can imagine, and have come up with a complete list of historical views, tracked trends and have formulated a plan for future growth. You create a killer slide deck for the executive presentation, practice every poignant detail and rehearse every quip with just the right pause for reaction included.
Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Gosh, it is almost getting boring around here waiting to see where the next selection will go. Salesforce grabbing up ExactTarget with the first selection was the first big surprise. Not so much the ExactTarget side, because there had been rumors for some time that ET was on the market.
With the lingering, precarious feelings about the state of the economy, along with plenty of concerns about the business climate in general, I find that there is always a great deal of hesitation around beginning any kind of large- or even medium-complexity project focused on data. In many instances, the general consensus from senior management and even ancillary groups outside of the marketing and data management groups is the company has been doing fine with everything just the way it is, with plenty of "If it ain't broken we don't need to fix it" or "Let's focus on increasing revenue this quarter first" pushback to proposed projects.
I live in a relatively small, rural town of 50,000 residents spread over 61 square miles. My specific neighborhood still has a good number of original owners of the development that was built in the early 1960s, attracting those young families looking to escape from the cities and using their GI benefits from WWII and Korea for life in the country. Those early Baby Boomers are aging now, leading to a fair share of emergency calls for assistance. During the last five or six years, I have watched something develop in response to these events which puzzles, amuses and often annoys me.
Way back in the Internet dark ages of January 1996, Bill Gates wrote about and coined the phrase "Content Is King." He was talking of course, about Web content and the need for people and organizations hoping to monetize the Internet to consistently produce fresh and relevant topics in order to gain the interest and loyalty of viewers, just as television had been doing, radio before that and print media the longest of all. His assertion that "over time, someone will figure out how to get revenue" from Internet advertising is frighteningly similar to today's gurus predicting much the same in regard to social media marketing. Just as back then—when companies and marketers struggled with deciding whether a Web presence was needed—today there are still major corporations only testing the social media waters, even if only half-heartedly, to keep pace with competitors.
Data … that great big, hairy gorilla in marketing departments all across the globe. We have Legacy Data, Subscriber Data, Third-Party Data, Business Data, Personal Data, Master Data, Sales Data, Reference Data, Privacy Data, etc., etc., ad nauseum. Now, during the last few years, the latest and greatest—Big Data and its cousin SoMoBi (SocialMobileBig) data have entered the fray enough to make everyone's head spin.