Data Driven V. Predictive Marketing: BEWARE JETSON’S MARKETING!

The Big Willowby: Charlie Tarzian

My son came to me one day in early December and said:  ‘Hey, Dad, let’s get Mom one of those robotic vacuum cleaners.  You know, the ones you switch on and they vacuum your whole floor!’  He could not contain his enthusiasm – this was going to be great – no one would have to vacuum our floors ever again!!!

So we went to Amazon (of course) and two days later our round disc of a maid showed up via FEDEX.

Come Christmas Day, the robot fully charged, off we went to the kitchen to marvel at what was certain to be a life changing event.  We turned it on and put it down on the floor and the vacuum swung into action.  It crossed the floor, sensed it was coming to a wall, made a pivot, chugged in another direction…and got stuck on the slight incline by the fireplace…then stuck again on the floor mat by the stove…then got caught between a chair and a table and went into a break dance that would make R2D2 jealous.

I bring this up because a colleague sent me this little snippet from the website of a Predictive Marketing vendor:

“Predictive Marketing doesn’t need to be a services heavy engagement to get you up and running. With CompanyX (name of company withheld) and our push button integration, we can integrate with your existing systems and build your predictive model in under a day. – See more at:

There you have it: Jetson’s Marketing – just push our one little button and off you go:  great leads, great meetings, great website experiences – in fact all your marketing/sales problems solved in ‘under a day’.  All that is left to do is fire your staff, except for that one person in charge of pushing the button when you run out of leads, meetings and website visitors.

Look, I know what I don’t know, but I can tell you this: whatever you’re thinking the new generation of transformative marketing is – one thing it isn’t is automated bliss.  It takes a fair sized village to make things happen.  And herein lies the huge disconnect between data driven marketers and the shiny new object called Predictive Marketing.  Data driven marketers know that data can and should be utilized across the marketing/sales continuum – but it is more about data orchestration than anything else.  Therefore, one button, add water and stir does not take into consideration any of the cause and effect across all the communications and transactive channels that marketers rely on.

Marketing is services heavy (sorry, Company X) because at the nexus of MarTech, AdTech and Sales Enablement sits quite a bit of cause and effect.  And unless you aspire and build towards using predictive data to positively impact all channels aligning as one – then what you are predicting is a very small sliver of what could be.  In other words, if the connectivity and synapsis among outward facing channels are not orchestrated and optimized using predictive data and you are not feeling good that all channels are working in sync – then how can you predict a scaled outcome?  The predictions you are making will reflect a small percentage of the whole – and so instead of widening your funnel and increasing your opportunities along every step in a buying journey, you are narrowing that funnel based on a flawed assumption that you are predicting against a full boat of reliable data.

On the other hand, Data Driven Marketing  sets up to be based on solving for the cause and effect of what is less than optimized (can anyone say, broken?)  It attempts to determine (not predict) what works and doesn’t and then – as a village – cohesively knits together a response to results that can be repeatable but certainly is not a just add water, one button pushed result.

So – are we starting to see a difference:  Predictive Marketing – a push button approach to a complicated set of executional events and response, or, Data Driven Marketing – a human driven (sorry robots!) approach to the cause and effect of humans communicating to other humans about things that may or may not be important to the recipient (we always hope for the former)?

What do you think?  We would love to know.  Have any stories to share – we would love to hear from you.

by: Charlie Tarzian, Founder, The Big Willow

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Rick Vargas

Rick Vargas is a strategic and innovative marketing professional, who has a successful track record of leading teams and projects through periods of change and transformation. Rick is a metrics oriented marketer and a thought leader that brings ideas to reality. Rick's background and domain areas of expertise are in web, social, mobile, digital, direct, and database marketing. He's worked with different types of organizations, across all sectors, from small start-ups, to large multi-national corporations. "What motivates me most is the role I play and the impact I have on the success of those around me. I love what I do from social to direct." - Rick Vargas

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