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3 Things Our Data Cannot Tell Us About Our Customers

The immense access to data us marketers and sales folks have these days is a blessing and a curse.
Why? Well, if we depend too much on data, we risk losing touch with reality and building campaigns around false assumptions. This can gravely impact our brand credibility and have detrimental effects on our campaign efforts. To combat this, we need to do some rewiring and become more conscious about the value we give our data.

Below are 3 things data cannot tell us about our valued customers:

1. Thoughts and Feelings

You can identify data points all day long but can data tell us the inner thoughts and feelings of our customers? Absolutely not. Yes, any good marketer would use demographic profiles when constructing campaigns around their target audience but what about the customers that do not fit into a particular profile? Data cannot exactly give us insights into the emotional state of each individual customer.

We need to be careful about making general assumptions about our target audiences.

2. Decisions

Data can tell us what but it really cannot tell us why. You know how correlation does not equal causation? We must consider ALL possible explanations for data trends we are reporting. And while trying to do so is nearly impossible, drawing more thoughtful conclusions will allow us to create a truer story behind data trends.

The key is to know there is value in watching the trends as they shift and change, but to be cautious when trying to draw conclusions from them. Admitting we do not know enough is OK.

3. Circumstances

This one is a big one. You know when you search for just one thing online and then all the sudden, every website you go to thereafter is showing you ads, trying to better the chances you will make the purchase. Retargeting is a great tool marketers use to stay visually aware in the eyes of potential customers. But what happens when these measures fall short?

Data can give us clues that circumstances are changing, but cannot tell us why those circumstances have changed, nor can they tell us the emotional impact those changed circumstances may have on the customer. The second we fall short is the second we lose the customer and hurt brand reputation.

Bottom line: Do your best in capturing all the data you can but realize the limitations in your data and carry that with you as you go.


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