Small Data: What’s the Value of One Person’s Profile?


Marketing strategists go ‘round-and-‘round when it comes to the question of gating
assets. The classic debate pits the need to position the company as an industry
thought leader by giving away content against the drive to measure MROI, the return on marketing investment, which ultimately is measured in qualified leads. Obviously, you need to understand which assets are effective. But some important considerations are: 

-- Is one person's information – what I call “small data” – really indicative of their decision-making power?

-- Is the asset delivered valuable enough that the trade of data, and the access that it allows, a fair exchange?

I think there are myriad angles of discussion, but for the moment I’ll focus on what I consider marketing myopia and prospect experience. 


Marketing Myopia

In my history, particularly in large enterprises, I’ve devised and executed many marketing programs that targeted C-suite decision makers. In strategy sessions, we made it a point to ferret out issues that our research indicated were top-of-mind for business leaders, and to develop messages addressing those issues. 

I no longer believe that, by and large, the approach is valid. It is near-sighted, focused on the wrong persona. Instead, I believe that C-level executives task their staff to research for solutions. My recommendation? Find out what middle-level persona in your industry care about and match your message to their issues, which are probably more relevant to getting things done on a day-to-day basis than five-year revenue growth targets. Is their interest and the small data they provide of value? Yes, to the extent that a conversation might have begun, but don’t consider the one-time small data event actionable information; the buyer’s

journey is not a linear path and it needs to include exchanging multiple assets for multiple small data points.


The Experience

I say “might have begun” above deliberately, because I know from personal experience that when I give up my small data and am disappointed in what I get in return, it’s usually the end of the conversation. Specifically, I’m thinking of earlier today, when I filled out a fairly intrusive form only to get a whitepaper written in 2009. I want current information and so do your clients, so don’t disappoint with assets that don’t deliver equivalent quid pro quo, because there’s tons of similar information on the Web that one can access without giving up any data.

The lesson here: content needs to stay fresh and relevant. It’s often a daunting task, but maintaining quality over quantity is very important.

So, in an age in which we can track each interaction with a single person, is there value in small data? Yes and no: the plus is that each relationship starts with a first experience; the negative is that we can mistake one person's small data as indicative of success or failure.

The America’s Cup: There’s No Second Place

Ghost written for Level 3 CMO Anthony Christie

The essence of the America’s Cup? Surely it’s design, teamwork, imagination and guts. But first and foremost, it’s speed. The finest sailors in the world use every advantage they can to go as fast as possible, be as agile as possible and cope with conditions that change each day, even hourly. It’s their business.

It’s your business, too. I’m not saying that you are pushing a 45-foot, wing-sail catamaran to its limits, but you are looking to accelerate business processes, execute as a team with more precision and pivot strategies in response to changing business conditions. An on-net connection — a direct, fiber-optic link between your facilities and Level 3’s global network — can help you reach all those goals. On-net circuits can be used to construct highly secure private networks, as well as high-quality connections to the Internet and other carrier networks. The advantages of being on-net include:

-- Higher network speeds

-- Better security and reliability

-- Increased network adaptability

-- Streamlined operations

  • Global reach

It’s sort of like the difference between navigating with a sextant or GPS unit; both work, but the GPS is faster, easier to use and more accurate. If you wanted to make the fastest run across San Francisco Bay, you’d opt for the GPS. Why not give your enterprise the same operational advantages and potential for cost savings?History says that when it comes to the America’s Cup, “there is no second.” Competition is fierce, sacrifice is great and speed is everything. I wish good luck to both of the teams!

Content development