What the Elections Taught Us About Reliable Data

by Alejandro Martinez, Director of Marketing Intelligence

If we learned anything about the 2016 elections, it is that the media and the majority of politicians are out of touch with a large segment of the population. As marketing professionals, this leads us to ask the question whether some brands are also out of touch with their consumers. In recent years we have seen many brands craft an aspirational message in the image of young, successful, urban professionals that may not necessarily represent their target consumer. In many cases, marketing needs to reflect less of New York and Los Angeles culture, and more of “Des Moines and Scranton.” They may also need to change the conversation from aspirational globalism to local distinctiveness.


The Data in the Details

A successful marketer relies on data to provide insights about their consumers, but many times the data may be misleading if not gathered and analyzed correctly. Marketers are too focused on aggregating people into broader groups and painting them with the same brush. Your target consumer in Pennsylvania may be very different than the one in Los Angeles. Geography, culture, diversity, demographics, lifestyle, and many other factors affect how consumers perceive a brand or marketing message.


Some rules of thumb for correctly using data to gather insights are the following:

-Make sure your data is based on a representative sample of the population you’re trying to target. If all of your data is based on information you collected in one focus group, then it may not truly represent the rest of the population.

-If possible, cut the data by demographic groups, geographical regions, lifestyle, and/or any other group(s) that may further inform and validate your strategy. Statistical tools such as cluster analysis are also helpful to segment the data.

-Data should help you tailor your marketing strategy, as well as provide insights for your creative team. If your creative idea was born beforehand, then make sure the data is able to back up the creative idea.


Data Still Dominates

Data is still the best way to make an informed decision. After the elections, data got a bad rap because none of the pollsters and statisticians predicted that Trump would win. Nationwide polling results may have been imperfect on the numbers, but they did exactly what they’re made to do, tell us who’s likely to get the most votes. And as you know, Trump did not win the popular vote. Likewise, presidential election forecasts are among some of the most difficult because of the large number of variables involved, as well as the challenge to survey people through landline phones (there are many restrictions to call cell phones for polling purposes). This doesn’t mean you should give up on data for marketing purposes. If used correctly, data will increase your chances of success. Likewise, it’s too risky to launch a multi-million dollar marketing campaign based solely on gut and without any data to back up your insight/message.


To learn more about effectively utilizing and analyzing data to inform your marketing strategy, follow Dieste Inc. and be sure to subscribe to Provoke Weekly for the latest trends in multicultural marketing.

Dieste Inc