Call us:






With All Due Respect, It Isn’t Data, Data, Data.

1 comment

guy_blackboardThis may seem a strange second post for a company that seeks to help its customers envision and execute data-driven, customer-centric marketing. But it is true, it isn’t data, data, data any more than it is social, social, social or content, content, content. Data is a piece of the future, granted an important piece, but still a piece. Big or little, data is only as powerful and meaningful as the organization chooses to make it. Data does not answer any questions, inspire any innovation, or inform engaging customer experiences. People do.

Some headlines scream “you’ve missed the big data train, you’re behind” while others are screaming “the big data train is going nowhere”. The truth is we are all so early in the “big data” curve, I’m pretty sure the train isn’t even ready to the leave the station. Job descriptions, titles and roles and responsibilities are still being heavily debated. There are websites and conferences and books and papers and slide shares and supplier papers et al, all jockeying for leadership position. Many with credible solutions and positions but as many without. It isn’t new technology nor even the addition of a few data scientists that will unleash the value of big data. It is the collective and iterative efforts of all people involved that will take the early promise of data and practically turn it into value for an organization and for the industry.

I believe it is without question that, to stay competitive and ahead of customer demands, organizations must envision and deploy a data strategy. It must start though at the beginning, with the right expectations and be deployed with the right approach, people, resources and organizational commitment. “Commitment” being another word for “a transformation of how the organization works”. Deploying a poorly envisioned or supported data strategy has the potential to be more dangerous than not having one at all. There is an art to leveraging data as much as there is a science. People drive both the art and science and the careful balancing of the two.

When looking to define this data strategy, there are many considerations that are as or more important than the technologies chosen to support the strategy. It is the who, how, what, when and why questions (as well as how these questions are asked and how they are answered) that make or break the value of data, regardless of size, to an organization. People ask and answer these questions.

Instead of running around screaming “data, data, data” should we instead be screaming “people, people, people.”?

Here We Go. Giving it Your All and Being Accountable.


Football_guyOn this Monday evening, I am watching the Eagles and Washington players give it their all. They are fighting until there is no longer a possibility of turning the pending L to a W (or the reverse). Even today, I love football, with a bit less ardor than years past, but I love it nonetheless. I watch with great respect for many of the players, coaches and others who have worked and continue to work so tirelessly to achieve more tomorrow than they did today. More likely than not, they’ve received quite a bit of counsel about why it was unlikely they would reach their goals, why they didn’t understand the challenge and why that’s not the way it’s always been done. They have talent and a natural aptitude without question, but they also simply work harder and longer than most, have their own vision for the future and are driven to continuously improve. They put themselves out there in some of the most vulnerable ways and are accountable to their team, to themselves and to their potential.

Football players aren’t alone. Many today are standing up to be part of the conversation. To be part of a transformation of how we all do business, how we all interact. This transformation is occurring at the intersection of the explosion of data, democratization of technology, the always connected customer’s changing expectations and wants, and new understandings into how and why we make decisions.

Just a bit of background. I was an early believer of Forrester Research’s Left Brain Marketing. Information and results without historical and future context never seemed to make a lot of sense to me. I’ve always believed that we needed to understand true motivations and barriers and establish goals and objectives before devising marketing plans. That good creative is only good if it is inspired from a place of understanding. And that we should think in terms of roles for each of the touchpoints and understand how they all work together along the path to purchase. I know there are a few I’ve worked for and who have worked for me who would also tell you that I don’t like to learn things twice, waste resources on poorly devised tactics, done well is the only way to do it and if we can’t fix or change it, we need to accept it.

Eight years ago I almost started an agency to help companies get the right messages to the right people at the right time. I saw a need to start from objectives and insights and build smart strategy from there. I believed this was the path to predictable and sustainable short and long term results. In fact – the name was Right3 Marketing. I exposed the value proposition of Right3 Marketing to a few people I admired and received lukewarm feedback (or more accurately, not effusive). I immediately assumed it was I who was wrong with what I saw for the future, dropped the idea and took a job.  Fast forward. Two years ago at ExactTarget’s Connections conference, I listened to George Colony of Forrester Research present to a packed house that marketers needed to get “the right message to the right person at the right time.” If only ….

Then may have been the wrong time for me. But now it is time to stand up, participate and be accountable. I must stop sitting on the sidelines, with my armchair quarterbacking perfected, and instead jump in to help, to learn, to lead. To get it wrong at times but also to get it right and to always to be striving for improvement. Business is undergoing a transformation and that includes marketing. It isn’t enough to add a few analysts and implement a digital strategy. We must stop chasing everything and thinking the latest business buzz word will be the panacea. We must change how and the way in which we market. Many must be part of breaking down barriers to envision and create the new path to the future.

Well, Washington didn’t pull it off, but they didn’t give up until all their seconds were gone. They gave it their all. It’s time for me to do the same. Welcome to Codei.