Believing “data” is more than behavior

I read MediaPost on a regular basis and find great value in their content. Maybe it’s a matter of timing, having just read several similar articles on DigiDay, but I have to express my deep concern over the lack of substance the digital marketing community expresses regarding marketable data. Behavioral data is interesting and for in-market, bottom of funnel, DR marketing efforts it may even be critical; however, it is by no means the “Pandora’s Box” of insight.

The article that triggered my entry today is “eXelate’s CEO Coins Term For DMP”. A main point in the article is to call out the clever twist on the acronym that the CEO of eXelate is espousing… it’s a Data Marketing Platform, not a Data Management Platform. Missing the point, is the concept of what “Data” is, not the nuance over managing data for marketing or marketing itself. The article starts off by declaring data as being behavior. Tacoda conducted research a few years ago to test out the concept of online behavior versus the purchase of a flat screen TV… using the implication of this article one would expect that the behavior of looking at flat panels would be the strongest intent indicator, right? Wrong, it was #22 on the list. #1 was viewership of military content. You’re probably asking yourself the question, “why military?” I don’t know. People are complex beings. What I’m asking myself at this point, and trying to communicate today, is “why behavioral data?”

Behavior, context, 3rd party data, and the myriad of proprietary segmentation models are all great… though each is incomplete. Not until we start to look towards the insight that brands possess regarding their target audience will the industry start to attract the brand dollars we’ve all been anticipating. The concept of marketing data and our identification as to what it is needs to expand, to include what marketers know it to be.

My $.02

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