Things I’ve Learned from Lately #42

“Things I’ve Learned from Lately” is a regular compilation of articles that have made me a smarter marketer. Hopefully, they’ll help you, too.

Big Data Does Not Always Equal Insights – Harnessing big data has become a possibility, but as Matt Asay points out in this ReadWriteWeb article, more data means more opportunities to get something wrong. Human error is where things typically go awry. Mistakes and human biases can turn data facts into inaccurate information. The right information with the right people is the only way to use big data effectively.

Key Takeaway: Big data at the end of the day is just a tool. It’s a tool that can help businesses, but without the right expertise and investment in harnessing that tool, it will do nothing or even worse when used by someone who is unqualified. Choose the right tools, but don’t forget about the intangibles that make the tool work.

Social Signals Government Plans - Harvard researchers have developed software that monitors Chinese social media sties for censorship to predict political events within China. Signals like dissident names being censored days before an arrest, an increase or decline in censorship rate and types of commentary allow researchers to anticipate government actions. Researchers note that censorship isn’t the only signal. Steering the conversation one way or another also points to what political officials are trying to accomplish.

Key Takeaway: Social signals can lead to big insights. Researchers using social data to anticipate Chinese government actions should show advertisers the potential for businesses to use the same data to identify consumer trends, insights and opportunities.

A Cycle of Disruption - Brian Solis writes that even though “disruption” has infiltrated the industry to sometimes be just another buzzword, “disruption” is more than that. It aptly describes what businesses are experiencing everywhere. Businesses are either disrupting others or being disrupted, similar to natural selection. Today’s disruptions eventually become tomorrow’s norms for doing business until disruption happens again. It’s a cycle that many businesses are experiencing today, and the businesses that successfully disrupt do so because they have a vision to bring quality to customer experiences that people want to share.

Key Takeaway: The biggest shifts in business are so subtle that many don’t even realize they’re happening until it’s too late. Business leaders evolving with disruptions and creating disruptions of their own are tomorrow’s leading brands.