Let’s discuss: The closer you think you are, the less you’ll actually see

1968 Dodge Charger R/T - 2560x1600 Desktop Wallpaper Black Background What sort of search engine magic does a company like Google work to deliver results meant to please and satisfy those who use its services? Truth is, it isn’t magic at all, and neither are the finer points of accomplishing this perceived magic very magical.

Google’s Search Magic Revealed

Details obfuscate purpose, and correlations can often obfuscate the bigger picture: causation.

When you try to determine how best to entice and engage customers, the search engine optimization tactics you employ have a way of distracting you from what is most important. So many correlations, so many microscopic examinations of efficacy, so much attention to a surfeit of arcane SEO advice can lead to a myopic view of how customers want to interact with you. Like a magician’s slight of hand, these tactics redirect your own attention from the true magic that is happening elsewhere. In essence, the closer you think you are, the less you’ll actually see.

When a business focuses on an over-abundance of ‘expert’-recommended small stuff, it typically misses the point, which is: How can you provide the best product for your customers? How can you satisfy, even delight, your customers? How are you going to make each and every customer feel you are there just for them?

The goal of your efforts shouldn’t redirect the attention of your customers. It should be based on moving beyond mystification to deliver the experiences your customers actually want and tailor those experiences to each customer, one at a time. ‘Big data,’ that merger of lots of data points with a variety of data sources and real-time delivery, is your best opportunity to move beyond correlation and into the big-picture realm of causation: If you understand more of what your customers want, you are in a better position to deliver it. The secret both you and your customers are looking for, the secret a company like Google has long since discovered, is customer-centricity.

Is slight of hand the answer? Hardly. Once you understand the magic behind the magic, you learn how to identify the reasons why your customers should care about you and buy from you in the first place. Then you don’t have to deliver the magic of magic; you can deliver the magic of value.

Image: by Barry Wetcher, SMPSP – © 2013 Summit Entertainment, LLC. All rights reserved

Four Not-to-Miss Data Stories- June 3rd, 2013

not-to-miss-linksUse your mobile phone. Use your tablet. Use your electricity. Use the internet, the ER, a medical laboratory, a gym. Generate lots of data all about yourself. Who can use that data? Well … probably not you.

If My Data Is an Open Book, Why Can’t I Read It?
(For a cooperative effort toward mutually beneficial solutions, check out #wethedata: for the people, by the people. For a list of companies supporting greater transparency in privacy, see Future of Privacy Forum supporters.)

Facebook tells a visual story of how members exchange music. It’s an amazing, artistic topography of music shared–and think of the mountains of data that went into creating it. Is there a clever marketing way to use this data? Folks are hoping so. Maybe you have a suggestion.

Facebook’s Mesmerizing 3D Music Map: Can Artists, Brands & Developers Use the Data?
(Nothing’s wrong with your speakers; there’s no audio track.)

Mapping Music on Facebook from Facebook Stories on Vimeo.

Back to Google’s “honest” maps. Suppose the only maps you see are based on what you are most likely to choose? Google Maps plans to serve up personalized maps that don’t show every feature–say, something you might want to do on an adventurous day–because that’s not what you normally choose based on all the data Google has on you. It’s a brilliant use of data for the purpose of targeted advertising. But some wonder what happens to your experience of life when the use of your data offers up thirty-six flavors of ice cream where one’s vanilla, the flavor you tend to pick, and the other thirty-five are … vanilla?

My Map or Yours? Google’s plan to personalize maps could end public space as we know it

Personality profiling gives businesses a far better idea what potential customers will respond to. But giving every potential customer a personality test is not feasible. What’s a business to do to improve conversion rates on advertising campaigns? Turn to Twitter.

No Hiding Place: A Plan to Assess Your Personality From Your Tweets