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Data leads to better business decisions. When it comes to the relationship between data and making business decisions, that’s the general assumption from marketers.

But as this week’s top marketing reads show, more people are questioning this assumption. Data-driven insight can lead to better business decisions, but only if make smart use of it, as these articles show:

  1. Just because you can measure something doesn’t make it important.

One of the best things about the web is that it provides almost an infinite number of ways to measure things, from what browser people use or how big their screen is to the amount of time they spend on a page. But this ability to measure can also be one of the worst things about the web, at least from a publishing point of view, as Knight-Mozilla OpenNews fellow Stijn Debrouwere pointed out in a recent post — because it encourages media companies and publishers of all kinds to focus on incremental increases in largely meaningless numbers, instead of paying attention to the things that actually matter. – Matthew Ingram on Gigaom

Tweet this: Media companies need to focus less on incremental increases in meaningless numbers, part of @visioncritical roundup:

  1. Tell consumers why you want their data.

Tell them why you’re asking for their information, and be honest. Many brands ask for consumer’s date of birth to send birthday coupons. Some brands need consumers’ zip code and license number for their return policy because they use return tracking services, like The Retail Equation (TRE) to fight crime. Best Buy, for example, includes their disclosure information and an explanation of how TRE works on their Web site. – Chelsea Amaral on Business2Community

Tweet this:  Want consumers to trust you? Tell them why you’re asking for their data. Part of @visioncritical roundup:

  1. Use market research to identify the questions you want big data to answer.

Even when meaningful information can be extracted, the problem is that the market also learns that lesson, "so what you have learned ceases to be true.... it's a feedback loop. You cannot beat the market." [Vision Critical’s Ray Poynter] said the best use of big data was to use it to quantify something: "Use market research to find where to dig and big data to do the digging.  – Brendan Coyne on AdNews

Tweet this:  Use #MRX to find where to dig and #bigdata to do the digging - @RayPoynter on @adnews, part of @visioncritical roundup:

  1. A marketer’s job is to demystify big data.

With big data on everyone’s minds, CEOs today want top marketers who not only know the latest techniques and trends, but who can reduce the mystery around big data and increase buy-in by collaborating across functions. More and more, marketers will have to be prepared to ask the right questions about topics such as: Are the organization’s current IT capabilities sophisticated enough to accomplish our goals? Or, when do people eat the most ice cream at the zoo? – Tom Seclow on

Tweet this: CEOs want CMOs who can answer “when do people eat the most ice cream at the zoo?” –part of @visioncritical roundup:

What interesting articles about data have you read this week? Let us know in the comments. 

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Kelvin Claveria

Kelvin Claveria was the former Content Marketing Manager and was responsible for Vision Critical's blog and social media marketing program. Before joining Vision Critical's global marketing team, Kelvin worked at Dunn PR, a Vancouver-based public relations firm. His experience includes working with lifestyle, real estate, and non-profit clients to develop social media marketing and PR strategies. Kelvin has a Bachelor of Business Administration from SFU's Beedie School of Business.
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