Tag Archives: ford f-150

Autonomous cars are coming. Are marketers ready?

Every passing day brings new stories about advancement in the realm of self-driving vehicles.  Just this weekend, Ford announced that it had appointed the head of its autonomous vehicle unit to the CEO post (Automotive News, subscription required).  Now that a pillar of the auto industry has made a major step to prying our fingers off the steering wheel, how should marketers respond?

Courtesy of the Ford Motor Company

As always, remember your Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Don’t Panic!

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Data’s Dirty Little Secret

If you ride New York City subways, you have probably come across Poetry in Motion, a noble attempt by the MTA to deliver us from Dr. Z.  One of these missives really stuck with me:

“Out of the crooked timber of humanity, nothing entirely straight can be built.

This quote came from Immanuel Kant.  I had no idea what  Kant meant when I read “The Critique of Pure Reason” in college, and I understand why I didn’t know why then.  Herr Kant was warning me about marketing data.
I know, again with the data.  Stick with me.  You might learn something.  If not, you can at least tell people you read an impassioned exegesis of Kant today without really lying.

I’ve talked before about how purchase data can mislead marketers, even though marketers generally prize purchase data above all other types of data.  When I visited the topic two years ago, I made the argument that purchase data only record what people did, not necessarily what they wanted to do.  For instance, a buyer may want to buy khakis, but if all she only sees corduroys at the store, she may buy them instead.  In turn, the retailer doesn’t learn what the buyer really wants, which may mean mis-targeted communications down the road. Continue reading