I don’t ever like being critical of any of my peers, but sometimes, I just have to call a spade a spade. I just finished reading an article in Adage, entitled, “Our Biggest Brands can no longer be managed by nerds” by Tom Hinkes. His basic premise is that using data to inform marketing decisions somehow is responsible for the loss or the demise of CPG brands.
While I agree that “brand marketing is not a science, it requires analysis, discipline and detail. Even more, it requires intuition, flair and vision,” what I disagree with is the confusion between data and “numbers”. Using advances in market research, analytics and more recent social monitoring to listen to your customers, gain a greater understanding of what motivates them and responding to their needs/desires is not being a “bean counter”.
What made Starbucks a success was not that Howard Schultz ignored the research and went with his gut; it was that he was able to see the real needs/desires of his audience. They weren’t interested in coffee or soft drinks; they were interested in human interaction and a place where that could happen. And that type of insight is exactly what data and the successful understanding of data can bring about.
So I would counter that it’s some traditional brand managers who can’t see the forest for the trees and it takes a new more strategic business focused approach to be successful in today’s marketplace. So instead of being afraid of nerds, learn to listen and then apply the intuition, flair and vision that makes brand marketing as much art as science.