When I first met my husband, Joe, he paid excruciating attention to me. Very quickly, he learned a lot about what makes me tick, what turns me on and what drags emotion out of me. He was reading my data, taking note of it and, most importantly, making use of it in a way that allowed him to start conversations that would interest me, take me to new places that would excite me and exist in my world while drawing me into his.
After being at Cannes for a day, I’ve spent a lot of time talking with the future players of our industry about how data influences the work they create. And I’m happy to say that millennials totally get it. They’ve grown up in a world where their data is being recorded and mined constantly. And that’s okay with them…as long as it’s being used for good. It’s okay for brands to look under the hood and learn the inner workings of their hearts and minds, as long as that information is used to serve them a better experience, a richer engagement and a stronger connection.
Data is knowledge. And knowledge is power. The more we know about the people we’re trying to reach, the better we can woo them and make magic happen—and the more connected they’ll feel to us. Because data allows us to “get” people and to make things personal for them, communication becomes real conversation and meaningful exchanges—not marketing, but relationship building.
Just like with dating, data helps us establish and strengthen connections. It helps us understand not only the person we want to marry, but also any person we want to have a relationship with. It’s the dance that begins the courtship, whether it’s between two people or a customer and a brand.
As I got to know Joe, I realized that he just got me. And in the end, we got each other.