We are in an age of information and connectivity. The amount of available data that a marketer can access is incalculable. With enough dedication, data, and creativity, marketers can drill down into the minutiae of a person's online behavior and send highly targeted marketing messages. (One of my favorite data and marketing stories is of the guy who pranked his flatmate by placing highly targeted ads in his Facebook feed that only his flatmate would see.)
Moreover, a recent IBM study revealed that "every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data—so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone."
So if we already create that volume of data today (just by being online), what happens when the Internet of Things becomes as much a part of normal life as the Internet has become. What happens when everything we do anywhere becomes an available part of the data set? What happens when we can see that not only does our prospects like watching Doctor Who and outdoor sports but that they also make a cup of coffee at 5:30AM every week day, run the same 3 mile route every Wednesday morning, and get their shopping delivered at 7PM on the first Monday of each month?
Stalky ads aside, there is a fast approaching problem that promises to overwhelm marketers—and it's not data as such. It's what the data provides us. Lots and lots of insights.
Knowing Too Much
I am sure that like me, you have suffered from analysis paralysis, the act of overanalyzing information to such a depth that you become unable to reach an outcome. It is both overwhelming and demoralizing when it happens. You think you are making progress before realizing that correlation does not imply causation.
The marketing industry, specifically the digital marketing industry, is going through huge disruption, in part to deal with this problem. The data is fantastic to have, but there is too much of it for us to get any real value from it. We either can't use all of it or we can't analyze all of it properly.
So technology and data are combining to create software platforms that can make sense of large volumes of data and turn them into actionable insights. In fact, the savvier and more forward-thinking agencies are creating proprietary platforms to continue providing their services. But those platforms risk causing a new and unique problem.