Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Trump’s Win Has Ad Agencies Rethink How They Collect Data, Recruit staff

With Donald Trump’s recent and surprising win in the 2016 presidential election many ad agencies are beginning to question their tactics. The focus of this article is the idea that as big data has begun to revolutionize the world, many people have become infatuated with it to the point that they miss out on other very important data. Ad agencies are looking at this recent election as a primary example of unexpected value. After seeing Trump and his campaign team come out with the win, ad agencies understand that the truly valuable data lies in the very heart of the local consumers. The best example I can use here is the demeanors of both candidates. Hilary Clinton is very political and loves to preach what her audience apparently wants to hear (the Big Data), on the other hand, Donald Trump is an open-minded (and open-mouthed) businessman that connects with the people and tells them what he truly believes is right and the best way to “Make America Great Again”. Furthermore, ad agencies are taking this win as proof that there is opportunity for improvement. The improvement lies in generating more hand on data collection through local staffing. They believe that hiring people from the very town they are marketing gives them an advantage to gain the most valuable and accurate data rather than what data on a large scale claims.

            I believe that this sudden realization is very beneficial and important. An example that instantly came to mind for me is wholesale clubs like Costco. Costco uses big data to follow trends and ultimately offer products that the general public claims as necessities and must haves. However, what gives Costco there competitive advantage over other retail companies is offering products that are special and relevant to the location. For example, Texas loves their BBQ and has many local crafters as well as many locals who hold a place in their heart for that tasty local BBQ sauce. Costco can collect that local data through local staff and therefore can be one step ahead of their competition. 

I completely agree with the idea of strict focus on Big data blinding the opportunity to collect other very important data. I especially liked this quote, “If you want to understand how a lion hunts you don’t go to the zoo, you go to the jungle". If you want to get a fine grasp on trends in say alabama you dont look to big data which is collected mostly in major cities such as New York. People are different, trends are different, the only way to truly understand that and find value in it is to look beyond what the majority claims.



  1. Jack has articulated a very solid argument regarding the need to "localize" marketing efforts. However, as beneficial as such localization efforts may be, they may be cost-prohibitive (it can be expensive to hire and place individuals in such specific markets) and negate any revenue generated from the associated analysis.

    Certainly "Big Data" has its shortcomings, but one of its greatest benefits is that it costs ZERO additional dollars to generate; more often than not, companies--especially large ones like Costco-- have the transactional, operational, geographic, and supply-chain data already on-hand. The only cost that may be associated with "big data" under most circumstances is hiring apt data scientists (if they are not already employed) to analyze it and derive actionable conclusions (if any). This data can be "big", but statisticians and scientists can usually localize their focus given a large enough volume of records.

    Hiring individuals to go out and "get" data in very-local areas eliminates some of the revenue generating opportunities that "big data" can inherently create, by virtue of incurring substantial costs in the collection process.

    Running a business involves making some concessions, and the pursuit of minority data is one that most (not all) businesses are willing to make-- especially large mass-merchandisers like the Costcos and Wal-Marts of the world. "Big-Data" offers them the opportunity to create revenues from readily-available information; companies of their magnitude can't get too focused on specific markets. It is an inefficient use of time and money.

  2. It is certainly true that the Big Data these politicians need to be successful is out there, it is just a matter of choosing the right channel to acquire that data. While it is true that localization or hiring local workers to run ad campaigns may be more expensive on paper, it is important to remember that the Big Data will generally be pretty inexpensive. Moreover, if it does cost money, one would hope that the local hired worker would know the community better than most, so he/she could generally get a good grasp of what would result in success for his/her superior.

    I think at some point Big Data is going to have its limitations; the recent shift towards localization and "keeping business local" has shown that instead of looking at Big Data across an area such as the entire country, it has to now be broken down into smaller segments. The good news is that although this data is broken down into smaller segments, the data itself might be the same size, since society today has a habit of collecting and archiving everything! While there may have only been X amount of data across the U.S. 20 years ago, there is probably the same X amount of data in a city the size of Washington, D.C. or New York given the changes humans have taken in treating their data.

    I really like your quote at the end of your blog post about going into the wild to find the data instead of going to the expected place. I truly think that Big Data is useless if you go out and find it from the wrong place because it is "overstated" or "inaccurate" - I think (in general) people found Donald Trump more appealing because he had that 'man of the people' attitude that Hillary Clinton did not. This quality I believe makes the Big Data collected to be used for the election even more crucial than it appears to be on paper. This article made me wonder in the future just how much bigger is Big Data going to get before it becomes irrelevant? I guess it becomes a matter of sorting the data and keeping it in line at that point.

  3. Jack, I found this article particularly interesting because I had not considered how the outcome of the election affected Ad agencies. I think one thing that we saw in this election was the unprecedented amount of media time that was given to Donald Trump in both the primaries and the general election. I watched an interview with the head of CNN post election and he said in hindsight it was a mistake to give Donald Trump that much free airtime. CNN leans liberal and they showed Donald Trump quotes in hopes to further their own candidates. Donald Trump also spent considerably less money on advertisements because he used the media as a tool to speak to the public. Every time Donald Trump would send out a tweet the media would pick it up and show it on their site and retweet him and it was massively successful for him.
    One thing that I also found interesting was how you mentioned that Ad agencies were sending locals into the communities in order to connect with the community. I wonder if the affect of Donald Trump using tweets helped with that connection. When he tweets something and someone else retweets it in your community there is that connection because it is a part of your friend circles. This sparks a connection between Donald Trump and people in communities across the US. This election was surprising for many people and the outcome was unexpected by the media. However Trump used the media and twitter outlets for his benefit and it worked out extremely well in his favor.


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