MARKET | Feb 8, 2018

The Datum is mobile, like a feather in the wind

How has the datum changed us and how to react to changes?

All the talk is about data, in all its meanings. Taking a quick leaf through the dictionary (the paper one) we find: in IT, the single element of information that is codifiable or encoded; each of the elements available to make a judgment or solve a problem.

But the most interesting information comes from the origin of the word. Datum comes from the Latin datum or “gift, thing given” and this is the meaning I prefer in marketing.

The gift of the datum

In recent years there has been a strong reversal of trend, and possession of the datum – which we first considered a private and precious asset – has been, consciously or unconsciously, entrusted to the network. This is, to say the least, an interesting phenomenon for those of us who work with clusters or sets and are suddenly enriched with information that we never thought we could have.

The datum in movement

The private datum becomes “non-public”, but usable. A few years ago there was a scramble to collect and condense the “static” datum (name, surname, e-mail and so on), trying to get the best out of simple analysis, monolithic clusters. In short, by providing information, we fired a bit into the group with the shotgun, hoping that some of the shots would hit a target.

Today, taking up the metaphor again, we are on a totally different playing field. Through social media, forms, emoticons, likes and comments, people continually enrich their primordial data with invaluable information that is inextricably linked to time and place. Even before it was like this. But without a usable trail. So it did not exist for us.

Like a feather in the wind

And so our datum is built in a dynamic way, and behaves like a tide in constant movement, with peaks of useless information and vortices of interesting data. The vector of the datum, the “who I am”, is enriched with information like: what I like, what I need, what I hate, what I approve or disapprove, how I inform myself and what interests me. All on a time line that puts the “here and now” in every row that we will analyze. And the “here and now” (georefentiation – sentiment) lords it over everything else.

And this new paradigm – continuous movement of the datum – has profoundly changed the reaction of operative marketing. Three-year and annual plans disappear. We navigate with visibility for a few months at most. We work in a totally different way, I would say almost fluid, having to readjust continuously to the information and tools and platforms used.

I transform and process

And we run. We run to understand, react and implement strategies that are fast and targeted. Marketing is therefore structured in Instant Marketing – which is inextricably linked to the time and relevance of the event from which it takes inspiration, in guerrilla marketing – which is linked to emotions and place, and in lead nurturing – for following the weak signs of a nascent interest that the datum has given. Technology, dashboards and artificial intelligence become the essential bases for understanding and reacting in good time.

Creativity is back in fashion

And in this continuous movement, if the reading of information and its aggregation and the technology that supports it are the base, the height is certainly constituted by the creativity and capacity of reaction of teams.

The datum generates new teams

The marketing team expands, including deep technical knowledge disconnected from classical knowledge. Teams have to include Big Data, Analytics, Data Science and Data Scientist skills that will flank graphic artists, copywriters and SEO/SEM specialists. In a group that cannot survive if disjointed .

The availability of the datum has changed us. A strong wind is blowing and we must let ourselves be carried.

Simona Piacenti