Is how the numerati see workers, shoppers, voters, bloggers, patients, and lovers going to result in the creation of a control panel that will drive how we conduct our lives?
One of the movements that are opening up new opportunities for business is some form of understanding around data.
While the conversation has shifted from simple analytics to Big Data, the evidence shows marketers are erring on the wrong side of the misunderstanding around what it is and how to make good use of it.
It starts with asking the right questions
Measure the box office ticket sales of a popular movie, for example, and bounce profits against costs, add to that customer reviews and marketing budgets and there you have it: a formula to replicate the success by targeting to those specs and mix next time.
Except for you may be missing an even bigger opportunity: Extending the shelflife of attention.
Sexy headlines about Big Data being controlled by big business grab attention for slices of the issues surrounding who has what#. Having is not tantamount to knowing, though. And knowing is about asking the right questions of data.
Big Data is information about people's behavior instead of information about their beliefs. Sandy Pentland is refocusing the conversation at the recently created MIT Center for Connection Science and Engineering.
It is the connections between people as they move around the world that is really important. With Big Data, it's about being inquisitive and understanding how people operate within their social context -- the connections between you and the people around you -- and the things they actually do in real life -- the connections between behavior and outcome -- the stuff you actually buy.
Coming up with an appropriate query set is about learning to have a dialogue between intuition and the causal processes that generated the data. It's about a new approach to doing things and thinking about them.
A good entry point to satiate the need for making sense of people's behavior is by collecting the little data breadcrumbs they leave behind as they move around in the world. Things like location data off a cell phone or credit card, which indicate what we actually chose to do.
What we do is actually not the same of who we are, although they are both influenced by where we are in relationship with others (context), and ourselves. We'll discuss privacy and data management in a separate post tomorrow.
The opportunity for brands and businesses is to become better at seeing the patterns between millions of small individual transactions and design micro-interactions to them. Designing to the way things are rather than trying to change behavior is the name of the game.
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.