The main problem with the digital industry at the moment was nicely summed up by Bob Hoffman:
The online advertising industry is drowning in data, but has generated almost no useful facts or principles. The encyclopedia of things we don’t know about online advertising since we started collecting 'big data' is comical.
...and slightly later...
Online advertising has a very long way to go. Until we have reliable data we won't have facts. Until we have verifiable facts, we won't have principles. Until we have established principles we'll continue bouncing around in the dark.
...in his piece: Data, Facts, And Principles. I highly recommend reading it.
Expectations and Reality
The problem runs deeper though - agencies are often more than happy to wallow in meaningless data, impressing themselves (and less savvy clients) by declaiming that it's "big data".
Just because you've got a lot of something, doesn't make it useful or valuable. You don't eat at Osteria Francescana for vast portions. Digital agencies increasingly act as if they're an all-you-can-eat buffet, rather than a Michelin restaurant.
The only way to fix this is to start with a client-centric, business focused approach. Caring about your clients and their business. Asking what they need, what you can optimise in their business, and doing that. Reporting on work based on metrics they care about.
Relevancy comes not from big, but meaningful data.
Technology isn't the answer, it enables the means.
The Creative solution to a meaningful challenge is what we exist to find, build and deliver.
Creating value, evidenced through meaningful metrics.
If you've enjoyed this post, you might want to follow me on Twitter