Seduction of data. The false sense of empowerment that exists because we think we know – or can know – everything about everyone.

Think about it. How many articles have you read, presentations have you seen, or speeches have you heard, that purport to be the ultimate source/analytical answer/magic black box that will capture, understand, predict, motivate, push, sell, capture…the consumer/buyer…you get the circle… In fact, the discussion has gone so far as to return to a technique touted years ago in the traditional ad industry that tracked your eyeballs – not as in Internet eyeballs – your real honest-to-God eyeballs — and based on where you looked the editors would edit and place the supers and texts and such.

Now think on this: if that technique had worked all those years ago – then TV spots would have all been wickedly successful and content would have been seconded to technique and technology.

And if that technology – today measuring down to the pixel – was really the answer than again – what chance would a mere consumer have?

Yet, sadly or not I guess, commerce remains commerce. Take up rates and buying percentages remain what they were. Unless I’m missing something there has been no exponential gain in retail or other purchasing. We are still locked into the discussion of how much business is migrating from one channel to another.
So where does that leave us? And what is the challenge?

Seems to me the question is what do we really know about people? What do we need to know? And what do we do with the information we have?

All of which leads me to a great article I read called “Lies, Damned Lies and….”

The article focuses on genome research but is applicable on a universal basis. One of the key findings is the overestimation of DNA analysis vs. lifestyle in predicting disease risk and the huge problems that has caused in medicine.

And there you have it…

If I’m watching the pixels that register your behavior and making key decisions based on that, how do I know you are just not bored and moving the mouse in circles? Or that your baby grandson isn’t sitting on your lap playing while you try to work or that the battery is dying in your wireless mouse causing erratic movement? [My morning by the way!]

This leads me to the quote that inspired the article:

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.
Benjamin Disraeli

Our job, as I see it, is to as Sharon Begley so succinctly ends her column, “amend his line to “lies, damned lies, revealed by statistics.”
Here is to revelation!

What’s your thought?

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