Data: The New Marketing Currency in a Time of Change

“What an amazing time to be a marketer,” GE Vice Chairman Beth Comstock said during the opening keynote at DMA’s &THEN 2016 conference. “Data is our currency. Grab it and use it.”

Marketers, she asserted, should observe consumers, customers, and the market; question everything; gain an understanding of what’s important, expected, and possible; and seek and get customer feedback. “Marketers at our core are behaviorists,” Comstock said.

Data is essential to this discovery process—especially during this time of constant change. “Welcome to the emergent era,” Comstock said. “The old is going away, but the new hasn’t yet emerged…. [Change is] happening at different rates in different industries. You have to pay close attention to what’s emerging or it may become an emergency for your company or your industry.”

That means marketers must move from being Mad men and math men and women to being emergence men and women, Comstock said.

Comstock added that when change shows up it’s barely perceptable, then suddenly it’s there loudly. “Change is gradual and sudden,” she said, noting that “data is a pointer to the future…you have the power to examine the data and convert it into strategy.”

But, she cautioned, not every piece of data is valuable. It’s what you do with the data. It’s also not about who owns data, it’s about how you get value out of it, Comstock asserted. “It’s time to step forward as innovators [and] creators,” she said. “What are you waiting for?”

Comstock captivated the audience with her message of change. Here, a Storify of some tweeted reactions from the #andTHEN feed.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Also from DMA’s &THEN 2016 conference:

7 Decision Drivers Marketers Can Tap to Influence Customer Behavior
The Happy (Re)Marriage of First- and Third-Party Data
Why CMOs Are, In Fact, Chief Mystery Officers
Marketers Live in an “and” World
POPSUGAR Uses Data to Sweeten Its Marketing Performance
5 Marketing “Shoulds” in an Overwhelming List of “Coulds”