Data Isn’t Everything

These days, data is big business. You have unprecedented access to information about your audience’s location, age, income, education, and employment history. But it goes further than that.

Like never before you have purchasing habits, personal preferences, values, affiliations, and routines—all trackable via social media, rewards programs, location markers, and more. Big players in the industry are incredibly adept at piecing together all your data to more effectively market to you. (Target took the prize in this arena when it accurately predicted a customer was pregnant before she announced it to anyone.)

Personalization Potential

Variable data print, email, and web advertising allow marketers to customize messaging down to the individual. A simple example: If you frequently buy chicken from your grocery store, you’re likely to get a coupon for chicken in your next circular. Since I like steak and buy that frequently, I’ll get a coupon for steak.

With all this personalization made possible through data, marketing is more engaging than ever, right? Wrong. It turns out data isn’t enough to reach people on an emotional level. Remember that our emotions are responsible for as much as 90 percent of our decision-making abilities. In other words, a coupon for chicken won’t cut it. While this type of personalization is a great start, the effectiveness of data is vastly enhanced when accompanied with artful storytelling.

Find the Story

What story could chicken possibly have, you ask? Well, for starters there’s a great American tradition of family meals around the dinner table—the place where events of the day, stories, and information are shared. Perhaps chicken is a healthy alternative to hamburger. There’s a story there. Knowing your audience and telling compelling stories that resonate with their worldviews is the key to marketing success. The data helps you get to know your audience, but unless you forge an inspiring emotional connection, you’re wasting your efforts.

Your organization has a story. Each of your events has a unique story. Use your data to know your audience, but use emotion to truly engage, inspire, and connect.

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