More insight, less rhetoric in politics and marketing


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If you haven’t already seen Jess Bachman‘s brilliant “1-page book,” Death & Taxes, you’ve got to check this out (click to enlarge):

Death and Taxes Infographic

It’s a superb example of what Edward R. Tufte calls a “supergraphic.” (For more on the art and science behind such supergraphics, grab a copy of Tufte’s latest book, Beautiful Evidence.)

Seth Godin, whose new publishing venture The Domino Project published Death & Taxes, wrote this in a post on the power of visualization: “Data is not useful until it becomes information, and that’s because data is hard for human beings to digest.

The U.S. budget, in its raw form, is a classic example of undigestible data. Jess Bachman has transformed it into something that anyone can digest as useful information.

“It is not possible to spend less than 10 minutes looking at this, and more probably, you’ll be engaged for much longer. And it’s definitely not possible to walk away from it unchanged. That’s a lot to ask for a single sheet of paper, but that’s the power of visualizing data and turning it into information.”

My takeaway, in the context of U.S. politics, is that it’s a relief to have some actual concrete, digestible information to inspire meaningful discussion and insight, instead of the endless unsubstantiated rhetoric from most politicians and the media that love them. But don’t worry, this isn’t becoming a political rant blog.

Rather, for marketing technologists, this is the bar that should be set for marketing analytics.

While many people are talking about the power of “big data” — a hot topic in marketing, as according to IBM’s latest CMO study, over 71% of CMOs surveyed now feel painfully underprepared to handle the explosion of data under their roof — there probably isn’t enough emphasis on the visualization of data.

Not just visualization for the sake of eliciting “ooo’s” and “ahh’s.” But visualization that genuinely reveals meaningful information, generates useful insights.

Because if there’s a runner-up for a profession that could benefit from more insight, less rhetoric, marketing would certainly qualify. The transformation from (merely) impassioned rhetoric to (also) information-driven insight, is a big part of the core of the new marketing.

In related news, — a new web start-up focused on letting people create amazing infographics — has just raised $2 million in seed funding.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Scott Brinker
Scott Brinker is the president & CTO of ion interactive, a leading provider of post-click marketing software and services. He writes the Conversion Science column on Search Engine Land and frequently speaks at industry events such as SMX, Pubcon and Search Insider Summit. He chairs the marketing track at the Semantic Technology Conference. He also writes a blog on marketing technology, Chief Marketing Technologist.


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