Analytics, data, statistics – just about everyone is using them these days. And those that aren’t, well you can be sure that they soon will be.
Anyone familiar with the best-selling book (or film) Moneyball will know all about the power of the analytical, evidence-based approach to succeeding in your field. Using the empirical analysis of baseball, or rather sabermetrics (yes, there is a name for it), and honing in on data that had previously been ignored in the sport, Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane was able to make his baseball team a competitive one, despite working on a shoe string and coming up against sides with far more cash to call on.
That was over 15 years ago. Using analytics to help drive success is now commonplace among most companies in the modern-day world, whatever the industry.
Take the music business. The Financial Times recently reported that instead of relying on the eyes and ears of the traditional A&R man to scout new talent in hope of finding the next big thing, some record companies are now beginning to let data do the job for them. In a world of downloads and streaming, algorithms are being used by one company in particular to scan data from playlists with more than 10,000 followers – there are 8,212 on Spotify currently covering around 407,000 artists – to highlight the unsigned acts starting to make a bit of a name for themselves. It’s the use of cold, hard data and analytics over an emotional decision that would previously have come straight from the heart or gut.
Whether this approach will ultimately win out in the music industry remains to be seen, but the move is representative of a world in which clicks, analytics and impressions reign supreme. Take our work at ALTER and our recent return from hosting the Casa Bacardi stage at a very successful Longitude Festival in Ireland. Everything from the DJs booked to play the stage to the bar staff hired to dish out the mojitos was a result of cold analysis of data – DJs’ social media footprints were trawled through; bar staff’s past successes at similar events were scanned over. This immediacy of data, and not in a Cambridge Analytica type of way, allowed ALTER to make the informed decisions needed.
It’s a model that will run through any creative communications agency – be it in the realm of live experiential, programming, sponsorship, influencers, social media… Social media is an industry in itself that lives and breathes analytics, with every click, impression and engagement painstakingly gauged over to determine the progress of a campaign or project. No stone is left analytically unturned.
Before such an ecosystem existed, there was of course always return on investment for companies to fall back on, but deals weren’t necessarily indexed directly off the back of it. Success today is driven by clear metrics that can’t be argued with.
And as long as everything can be made accountable for by data, we’ll all be playing the game of Moneyball for some time yet.