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“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” I am fairly sure Einstein wasn’t thinking about hard/big data when he wrote that. But it is so true. As he also said, and this is the quote that I use in the frontpiece of my book, “Imagination is more important then knowledge.”
Sure, those thoughts are perhaps a little overstated, but isn’t the term “Big data”? To me, basically, it means that today there is so much more information available to marketers, that they can cut, slice and dice an overwhelming amount of statistics on everything we do. Someone, somewhere, is probably examining my keystrokes as I write this, and is embarrassingly aware of how often I am forced to use spell check.
IBM, certainly not an objective observer, has this to say: “Big data is being generated by everything around us at all times. Every digital process and social media exchange produces it. Systems, sensors and mobile devices transmit it. Big data is arriving from multiple sources at an alarming velocity, volume and variety.
Insights from big data can enable all employees to make better decisions—deepening customer engagement, optimizing operations, preventing threats and fraud, and capitalizing on new sources of revenue.”
But all us creative types want to remind all the left-brain types about our guts, our hearts, our feelings, and our creative instincts. We have no problem with data giving us direction. Our problem is with using that data as a straitjacket, with detailed guidance that can only lead to one solution.
It’s like my days creating commercials for Procter & Gamble. The good thing was that they really believed in the power of advertising. The not so helpful part was that using what their research insisted had to be in the commercials was like making us put together a jig saw puzzle. You had to put all the various pieces together, which you eventually did, if you wanted them to actually produce your commercial, but like most jig saw puzzles, the final result was square and flat.
Will big data force us into cookie cutter creative solutions? Well, when used the right way, data are just another marketing tool. Unfortunately, used incorrectly they become a hammer, pounding us into creative submission.
Got the idea?