Data drives marketing. The most important data is sales. Duh. Always start with sales: daily, weekly, monthly, annual, forward and back. Data on purchase clusters, purchase frequency, bundling and demographics provide a wealth of insight, especially when compared to key competitors. One can look at dollars or units, regions, sales tied to marketing investments, both on and off-line. However, as the data gets more complicated and pervasive, the sources require greater scrutiny. How the data is classified and arranged is critical. Consumer product data from Mitel and Euromonitor International aren’t always organized the same way and even when done so don’t always agree.
The next problem happens when marketers cloudy-up the waters by making hybrid products. Can a beverage be a carbonated soft drink and water at the same time? (Ice, for instance?) Is a frozen, ready-to-bake cookie clssified as a frozen dessert or cookie? Many are these data dilemmas. It’s troubling. And if the data companies don’t know how to classify a product it’s likely consumers are having similar trouble.
Enter the Is-Does. What a product is and what a product does. The Is is different from the Does. The iPhone is a phone. Some product marketers don’t get the Is and it can be staggering – especially for startups. And the data dilemma is only making this phenomenon worse. So get your Is-Does right first and the data will follow.