October 8 , 2002 Volume 2 Issue 18
Spinning Straw Into Gold
Some time ago I heard this phrase from John Miglautsch.
Soon this nice guy and business friend will have his book with the same title available for all. You get an early review.
The original use of these words comes from Brother's Grimm Rumpelstiltskin story. Where the millers daughter gets caught in her fathers bragging that she can spin straw into gold. How first the greedy king takes advantage. And then Rumpelstiltskin does, too. John makes his point by comparing marketing people.
John is in marketing - the direct marketing - database marketing biz. He knows how to crunch facts and figures, the numbers, called data, into something useful. For some this is necessary ... and dry. Boring. Hard to grasp. Something for the financial or IT guys to do. Not for those of us who have trouble with a basic hand held calculator. John makes it all interesting.
You know this book will be a good read when the sub-title says this;
"An Executive Guide to the
Yet, what John is saying is that "sure", there is a way to use the mountains of data now available to just about any company. There are "formulas". There are stats that after a while help you turn data into information into knowledge. Science. And "yes", there can be an art about all of this. Learning what works, what does not, is as much art as anything.
Still, John Mig takes "facts"and goes another step. One I really like, when he asks "Knowledge is Power?"Well, if you've read me before you know I do not believe knowledge is power ... unless you use it. Otherwise it is nothing more than information. Maybe data. Certainly not power. Francis Bacon was wrong when he first uttered these words - they are still very wrong today. John recognizes this ... and goes one step further. He says;
"... just as knowledge does not equal wisdom,
Then John uses a collection of words not often found in a serious business book;
"... one reason people don't do more
(You mean John, people in business are afraid to move forward, to try something new and different? No!)
Next, he says there are several lies in the database marketing industry. First, "We know everything about you" (on occasion it may seem that way to those of us receiving direct mail, spam E-mail and telemarketing calls!)
And then "Your data is mostly worthless ... mountains of lines of numbers and letters have no intrinsic value ... I see very little hope that data quality will improve in the future." A strong statement. A lot of people will not find these words as amusing as I do ... still, they are true.
Another lie is "We know what you'll buy" (and when, and why). Which is an amazing thought ... as most of us don't know what or where or when or why we buy much of what we do for ourselves and our families. How in the world can we even guess reasonably about what you'll do? Fact; we can't!
So, John says this;
"The single greatest reason why people are not turning
Frankly, this is not what I, or many, want to hear. MORE variables? Don't we have enough already? How many more can we stand? How much more time (translated: money!) is it going to take? And ... why?
To further compound this thought, John has a working definition of a variable;
". . . anything you can think of."What? What!?
There are 20 chapters inSpinning Straw Into Gold. So far I'm barely more than a third of the way through. What S T O P S me is Chapter 8; Thought is Required. You mean we must think? How original.
John makes an interesting comment about marketing and marketing people. Vs. financial folks. The money people are always looking at where you've been. They report on the past. Supposed facts.
Not so with those of us in marketing. Oh, we like to know where we've been. It helps in planning. Yet, where wereally spend our time is getting from where we've been to where we want to go. Some place out there in the future - where we have not been. Yet. That's a tougher call then reporting what has already happened. And ... it requires thinking.
Magic is a result of wizards doing their thing. Not scientific people, or accounting people, or management folks. No, magic happens only when there is a wizard to "spin"(not to be confused with the political spin coming out of capital cities around the globe!).
John looks at creative types. Those who live in a different thinking world - and are ever at the ready to launch another marketing campaign. Creative people become wizards when they look at data and see beyond it. See what is in it - not the numbers and symbols and facts and figures. No, instead, what it can mean. What it can do. How it can perform to achieve. How it can produce different results.
The book is not technical ... even with a section on modeling. When much of a chapter is given to "...how do we identify the > I Love You'variable ..."you know I speak the truth.
And then there is the fish story. You'll have to read the book to feel the full impact ... yet, the conclusion I'll share with you today; "Facts are stupid things until brought in connection with some general law."Which is what data is ... stupid ... until made useful. Which is why it takes a wizard to bring magical results.
For much more, and where and when you can buy this book, contact John Miglautsch @ John@migmar.com. Tell him I sent you.
You can bring "It IS What's Next!"
by ROCKINGHAM*JUTKINS*marketing, all rights reserved.