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Call to Action: Commitment to Better Marketing Data



A Foundational Learning: The Value of Commitment


I don’t claim to be a first adopter of ideas, but I do tend to be passionate and dogged once I come to a point of view. Most times, I like to believe, this is a good thing!


To illustrate this, years ago, I went on what I thought was going to be a simple journey of getting back in shape. It ended up with me completing four Ironman triathlons. Maybe a bit extreme, but those times were, and are, foundational for me in understanding the value of commitment. When one commits to something, real results can happen.



When I commit in these areas, there has usually been a defining moment that flipped the switch in my head. For the triathlons, it was going for a run along the lakefront in Chicago not long after I moved to the city. After seeing a bunch of people swimming in Lake Michigan, my friends informed me that these swimmers were mostly triathletes. I was mesmerized. The switch flipped. Hard to explain, but at that moment, I knew triathlons were a big part of my future.


Becoming a Responsible Analytics Advocate and Evangelist


"It hit me like a load of bricks, our marketing data is so misrepresentative that it’s maybe the biggest part of the problem"


My journey to becoming a Responsible Analytics advocate and evangelist followed this pattern – a defining moment that led to commitment and foundational growth.



While admittedly, it took too long to start, I have a very clear recollection of the moment I knew I’d become an advocate and evangelist. It was what I thought would be just another day of many meetings, but one meeting, between a multi-cultural agency and a large, historic, third-party marketing data provider, changed all of that.


In short, it became abundantly clear during that meeting that this significant marketing data was near worthless for multi-cultural marketing. The multi-cultural agency was able to show how when they would query on their target multi-cultural audiences, they would get, at best, unusable results (and in some cases no results)!


Now, consider that we all are seemingly committed to data-driven marketing but we don’t have usable multi-cultural data. How can we say we are diverse without diverse data? How can we grow our consumer connection if we don’t have data to understand them?

It hit me like a load of bricks, our marketing data is so misrepresentative that it’s maybe the biggest part of the problem. After years of using this type of data, it finally dawned on me. I had known there were biases, but had not “seen” the implications. Everything suddenly was clear. As a leader in the marketing space, I needed to start to act.


Call to Action: Urgent Commitment to Better Marketing Data


This story is not intended to be a strict criticism of third-party marketing providers, though, yes, it would be great to see improvement there (and there is starting to be some). More so, the story is intended to illustrate an example of the issue we face, and, hopefully, encourage folks to become advocates and evangelists as well.



There is no single solution or quick fix for everyone. I’ve been quite encouraged by many of the happenings in the space over the last year. From ANA’s pledge for better data, to companies like Nielsen creating “Inclusive” data offerings, to agency holding companies such as Group M creating Responsible Investment approaches with data ethics components.


We need more though…more advocacy, more prioritization, more accountability, and more integration of responsible data and analytics into our day-to-day jobs. Having had significant experience in the marketing industry, I know the stresses the day-to-day teams face – fast approaching deadlines, conflicting priorities, and lack of time, tools, and training are high on the list of those stresses. When you add to that the level of effort needed to update and integrate enhancements to data systems, ensuring we have and correctly use representative data is well beyond a minimal task.


Are you up for this call to action?


Are you building and selling in, and funding your data strategy and roadmap to ensure your data is representative?


Are you setting yourself up to best communicate and engage with today’s diverse citizenship?


There is great opportunity here. I hope my advocacy and commitment helps you in yours.


Thank you!

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