Is marketing losing its creativity to Big Data?
An open letter to data-obsessed Marketing Managers
I am your fellow Marketing Manager. For all of us in Marketing, creativity is supposed to be our mother tongue. But this language of ours is being changed and eroded by ‘Big Data’.
We are in the Marketing Teams of our respective companies and hence, that makes us in charge of befriending the customer, knowing her and winning her over. I appreciate this task. The problem I have with this is that instead of wooing her, I think we are repelling her. How, you ask? Here is how…
Big Data Everywhere
Starting from 2015, through whole of 2016, the buzzwords in our field of marketing were: Big Data, Data based insights, Data Science, Data Mining, Data Analysis, AI, Omni Channel, Martech etc etc. The customer became a data point, one among a billion, in our scheme of things.
Omni Channel is communicating with the customer everywhere. Isn’t that creepy? It reminds me of this song by Police:
Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I’ll be watching you.
Every single day
Every word you say
Every game you play
Every night you stay
I’ll be watching you.
Oh can’t you see
You belong to me?
Spooky hyper personalization
To me personally, this hyper personalization based on data is spooky. Harry Potter may be our target customer but that doesn’t mean we pop up in front of him every time he opens his mobile or laptop. Lets not track his every sneeze and his every yawn. If we still wish to track, don’t read too much into it. He may have sneezed because of dust and he may have yawned because he was bored.
Be it SMSes, Emails, internet surfing, social media, chatting or shopping- we follow the customer everywhere, gathering information about what he likes, what she wants, who he knows, who she should know, who he may like to know, what she may like to buy, what their friends are buying, what are they chatting about, etc etc.
The killer is about to be revealed on the most popular crime serial and we rudely pop up to tell them about our new socks. What makes us think they would appreciate that?
This over dependence on numbers and data and tracking is akin to placing all of our potential and current customers into the Big Brother House or into a fishbowl like goldfish. It is not appealing. We are not wooing them into liking us but simply bugging them.
My solution to our problem
We want the customer to notice us/ like us/ be with our brand?
Then give her space.
Use your creativity. Surprise her!!
Don’t meet him everywhere he goes but do some fun, creative thing at one or two places so that it gets his attention. If you give him one or two memorable surprises, if you can make him laugh, make him feel things, then there is no reason why he will not approach you or talk to you. There are better chances of her remembering you if you have made her happy.
David Ogilvy….now that is a guy who knew how to get her attention. Even if this is the information age and the age of micro second attention spans, we would do well following old school marketing ideas. Maybe cloak them in modern styles to stay current.
Guerrilla marketing? Heard of that? Study it. Crack that code because that constitutes surprise. And surprises are usually memorable.
The customer is not high maintenance. She doesn’t want us to spend gazillion dollars on her. So spend less but spend well. Know his name but don’t know the color of his eyes and the name of his dog. And borrow from the book of gentlemen like Ogilvy!! And keep speaking the language of creativity!!
Hasta La Vista, Fellow Marketer…