Over-Datafication: When is too much data, too much?

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During the early stages in my career (yes, this was back in 2001) social media didn’t exist. We had to rely on some basic marketing know-how to prove our point, build out campaigns using a lot of traditional mediums and always focus on the 4 P’s - product, placement, price and promotion.

I have officially dated myself, because the four P’s are about as old as dirt.

But when it came to determining what the ROI was for anything we spent money on, it was extremely subjective and quite honestly, a whole lotta guessing. Because of this, marketing had always been frowned upon by those who just didn’t get what we do simply because we had to spend a lot of money to execute our tasks and it took time to actually see results. Worthy results. But also, because the real hard data for any marketing efforts were hard to measure. Accurately and well.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with collecting data to prove my point. I love it because it is necessary and people want hard numbers (numbers NEVER lie!), especially when companies are spending boatloads of money to promote and push a product or service. I hate it because the numbers are so subjective and you run the risk of becoming hamstrung by the need to consult lots of different data sources. This takes a lot of time believe it or not.

TRUTH: the amount of data available to marketers is INSANE! It’s good, but the data is plenty.

I’ve tried to follow a few tips and best practices over the years so that I’m reigning in on the data I collect for any company or client, ensuring it’s data they need to know, and that it’s relevant to what we are trying to achieve. If it doesn’t make sense to me, it sure as hell won’t make sense to the client.

The question is, as marketers, what best practices should we be using when it comes to data collection?

This article will help explain as well as offer some good tips.