The better part of my career has been spent analyzing data, working to determine relevance, creating metrics and standards, and executing marketing campaigns against that data. Ask my friends over these years what I do, though, and their answers will vary from "Fatemeh makes catalogs" to "Fatemeh sells names." Direct marketing has never been sexy, obviously.
But suddenly, data's hot. It's the Next Big Thing. Looking for patterns and writing A/B test plans ARE sexy. "Multivariate" is a term most people have heard, even if they don't know what it means.
This, of course, is because data is EVERYWHERE. Data feeds and vastly improves our online lives -- let's be honest, we wouldn't know what to do with ourselves if Amazon's recommendation engine or Google's ability to correct a misspelling suddenly disappeared -- and there's a little bit of magic to how it all works.
While this is all tremendously exciting stuff, and I'm thrilled that data mining, conditioning, and analytics are getting their due, it does leave me wondering whether we marketers are getting the short end of the deal again. After all, while it's an analyst who produces the results, shouldn't it be marketers driving some of the questions?
It's no longer sufficient for us to ask questions in laymen's terms -- we have to understand the structure of a data warehouse, how queries are written (and how they waterfall), and what it means to load parameter X before parameter Y. It means that we need to be disciplined and build actual test plans -- plans that take seasonality, market conditions, segmentation strategy and creative efforts into account.
Are you ready for the change?
The article that spawned this post is from the O'Reilly Radar, and is linked above.
How has your use of data as a marketer changed? Tell us in the comments, won't you?