How Data kills the old Mothers

James Procter

Good planners today demand really good tools.

I remember my first brief. Yes, it was a long, long time ago. Thank you.

So, the Planner and Account Manager are going through the brief and we got to the point where we were talking about the target market and the insight that drove her. It went a little something like this “Working mother, 30+, extremely busy managing a career and a family” and the insight was “She’d like a product that made her job as a mother easier, but didn’t look like she was taking shortcuts.”

Whoa! Amazingly, we were selling just such a product! This is awesome. We are going to nail this!

But not.

Throughout my career I met this same ‘mother’ hundreds of times and even though the words and the products changed, the insight remained pretty much the same. And I’m sure I’m not alone. Imagine if people in creative agencies around the word were all receiving a similar brief, just for a different product. We’d have lots of people trying to say the same thing about different products. And commercials would give you that strong smell of deja vu – we’d have ads that remind you of ….ads. Who can imagine a world like that 😉

So where are we now? Well, I’m sure that ‘mother’ and that insight still exist on some briefs in some traditional agencies. But I believe the landscape has changed a lot. Good planners today demand really good tools. Ones that give them access to a broader and deeper level of understanding. Not just transcripts of a couple of groups but national and global platforms that mine millions and billions of unsolicited sentiments and then reveal the drivers behind them. All of the data is there, it’s just a matter of who has access to the most relevant stuff and which platform makes it accessible and useable.

And make no mistake, this is where the gold is buried. This is where we get closer to consumers in a good and not creepy way. This is where our products and advertising stop becoming interruptive and start becoming useful*.

*I asked my mum, and she likes useful.