Knowledge is power. We’ve all heard it. Maybe we’ve heard it too much, to the point where the message, the value and…well, the power of that statement is not truly appreciated, especially in the data-rich world we live in today.
While variations of the expression above have been around for thousands of years, the core message is most often attributed to Francis Bacon, an English philosopher born in the 16th century.1 Bacon’s use of the phrase was actually in an essay on religion; however, the saying has since been adopted as a motivational and inspirational catchphrase for parents, teachers, and, of course, business professionals. Specific to our cause, we will address marketing professionals.
In today’s marketing environment, knowledge—and the subsequent power that’s derived from it—are rooted in analytics and data-driven decision-making. You might say the message has evolved to:
data=knowledge, knowledge=power, DATA=POWER
Successful decision-makers and key influencers—strategists, account leads, media planners, CMOs, CADs (Chief Acronym DuJour)—embody the spirit of that data-to-power relationship. These stakeholders work hand in hand with analytics folks and embrace the culture of utilizing the vast amount of data that’s available today toward making smarter marketing decisions. We need to constantly evaluate key business questions using supporting data to shape those decisions—questions such as:
- What does my audience look like? (target size, buying habits, demographic)
- Where is my audience? (channel preference, geo-targeting)
- How much of my audience can I expect to convert? (predictive analysis)
- What content is resonating with my audience? (path flow, engagement analysis, social shares)
- What is the relevant message for my audience? (media performance analysis
- & optimization)
When are the best times to communicate with my audience? (dayparting implementation & analysis)
- Why is Bacon so awesome? (no analysis required; some things we just accept)
So we’re back to the bacon? Sort of, but before we get to the food product, let’s jump back to Francis and his statement. Knowledge is definitely power, and data can drive that knowledge. Analytics should be the fuel constantly feeding the marketing engine.
Yes, you can make the case that Mr. Bacon’s expression has been overcooked (and who likes their bacon overcooked?). You can also make the case that data analysis can be overcooked as well. Let’s be honest, either too much data analysis or too much bacon can produce undesirable intestinal reactions. But with the right amount at the right time? It’s a home run.
To take it a step further, you can go to Denny’s and order pancakes, hash browns and eggs—but to truly make it a Grand Slam, you need the bacon! Just ask your friendly analytics server; they’ll set you up.
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1. David Simpson, DePaul University; “Francis Bacon (1561-1626)”, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy – A Peer Reviewed Academic Resource [n.d]; viewed 8/28/2015; http://www.iep.utm.edu/bacon/