Customer Data and Pork Bellies

The law of supply and demand.  You’ve heard of it.  You may have studied it.  Any of you that are economists (real ones. not just those like me that have it on their resumes under “education”) know a heck of a lot more about it than me.

With my elementary understanding of the subject, I got to wondering the other day about the economic value of customer data; voice of the customer, customer insights, whatever label you give it.

Has customer data become a commodity?  Have we hit a point of dimimishing returns? (pulling out all my econometric knowledge now)  How does your organization determine the investments it makes to acquire, store, manage, analyze and take action on customer data?

Customer data is overabundant.  And, with the explosion of the social web, It’s easier than ever to access.  And, yes, companies can’t seem to get enough of the stuff.  But, as fast as demand grows, supply is growing at an exponential rate relative to demand.  Just look at Twitter alone.  As of May of this year, Twitter was generating over 35Mb of data per second. Do the math.  That’s 2 gigabytes per minute; 3 terabytes a day.

The struggle I’m having is understanding what is driving the demand.  Since the time I could spell Cobol, there’s been this adage that says “Most corporations are data rich yet information poor”.  Catchy, right?  So, if this is to be believed, shouldn’t the focus be on doing more with the data an organization already has?  Of course, if its crap, then, by all means, get different data.  But, I’m not sure you need more of the same.

Do more with less.  Isn’t that what the new economic reality dictates?  Maybe its something to consider when it comes to customer data.


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