1. Interpreting the Data Wrong
Big data is only as good as your interpretation of it. If you are too focused on the wrong data, it can lead to the wrong solution. I think Executive Director Avi Levine with the Digital Professional Institute summed it up well in a recent article in CIO magazine:
We were working with a small business in the hostel space. They were really focused on the duration a visitor would land on a given page — as in, how much time people were spending on their website.
They were investing a tremendous amount of time creating additional content, additional pages to lock people into their website. They missed why they were doing that. They thought that the more time people spend on the website, the more likely they’ll book a room. Well, they didn’t have a specific call to action, a specific forum that’s obvious to people for booking the room. Time spent on the website was not a reaction to the content but the fact that visitors couldn’t figure out how to book the room. When they simplified their site, time on site went down and leads went up.
2. Relying Only on Data
Data is not the end all be all in the marketing world. While we cannot argue that data can be helpful, marketers must not let data overrule their brand and how their brand is being reflected in the marketplace.
The editor in chief of Bon Appétit, Adam Rapoport, was recently interviewed by Adweek and one of his quotes continues to remain with me.
“… we should never let metrics dictate the stories or videos we create. As soon as you start listening to focus groups and daily stat reports, you’ve sold your soul and will never find your way to anything genuine or interesting. You’re only rehashing what’s already been done rather than inventing. You are making the equivalent of a lame Hollywood sequel. No one will watch.”
This is a great example of the struggle between listening to big data and being true to your brand.