Data is a four letter word

data is a four letter word ham singh intelligence marketing weekender 334

By Prof. Harmandar Singh

Data is good, but the word data is not sexy.

Intelligence is a better word.

The mountains of precious data out there can be seductive for any marketer. Doesn’t it sound even more alluring if I said, “The mountains of precious intelligence out there can be very seductive for any marketer!”

Data helps refine plans and directions, and allows audience targeting.

Brands say they must have the data, advertisers want data working on their media spend. Media agencies thrive on data. My dog wants to go for a walk.

The entire business world wants data.

And they want it all. If so, do they actually read the data reports that justify their investments?

Does the person who pays for everything audit the data before writing the cheque?


Because they don’t want to think.

That’s how data makes you lazy (another four letter word).

We have this fixation for data, but when it comes to data interpretation, we are lost. Because thinking hard is difficult. Creative thinkers are rare. So we stick to the math.

BTW, I scored a strong credit for my Add Maths O-level exams.

Recently, I heard there is an explosion in content consumption. I agree. Especially when it takes only one loooong second to be classified as having already viewed an ad on YouTube. Multiply that metric a few billions times a day and yes, we have a content explosion.

Of the dumb kind.

The Data Palace: once the initial data is inputted, the machines take over and through machine learning (the boring word for AI) plus cumulative experiences, you get a “granular picture”.

Then, to add magic to data, you need a Data Scientist I assume. Someone who can make sense of the data, analyse and distill it into a strategic master plan that becomes the thrust of your messaging. And at times, becomes even the message. This is truly breakthrough stuff. Think of an Actuarial  Scientist at work, but leave the morbid bit out.

However, since Data Scientists are rare in Malaysia, the good ones who know how to laugh, and you may need a translator to try to understand them, I have a suggestion.

Get an advertising Creative Director.


“Data is a four letter word” was the Editor’s Note for MARKETING WEEKENDER Issue 334

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