Trump reveals the big hole in big data.


Data is a scary accurate tool for communicators these days. I have a friend who is pretty much a vegetarian. He has never visited a site about, or written about, steak in his life. After one offline conversation touting the wonders of a perfectly prepared cut, however, he begins receiving steak communication in his social feeds. Spooky!

Data has tagged, defined and automated us. It has changed the way we communicate, exploding the value of our marketing dollar. We’re in a growing love affair with it (bordering on unbridled lust) but we’ve forgotten about a communicators first, true love; emotion.

Trump, a big bucket of cold water.

The election we all just sweated through is a YUUGE wake up call that every once in a while we need to back away and see the rest of the painting. Data anointed Clinton as the next president and everyone believed. But with all of its wonders and magic, data failed to take human emotion into account.

It’s a good example of the pendulum swing that has happened with our love for data. The farther we swing away from the value of understanding deeper emotions, the bigger our mistakes and failures.

The data we dig up should be used in partnership with emotional understanding. That’s when amazing things happen. Below are two pictures that deliver the same information. One is data driven and the other is data partnering with an understanding of human emotion.


Yes she seems a perfect target for “work from home” offers or facial cream ads but there’s also an opportunity for something deeper that only comes with emotional understanding. It’s through emotion that we can connect differently, build lasting relationships, change opinions and even behaviors.

We are lovers of the extreme.

We are all human. If we find something that allows us to have control, to define our actions for us, to take away those hard choices, we will become rabid for it. But there is a balance needed when dealing with human beings. Yes, dealing with emotions can get blurry. But the reward for using data to emotionally connect is massive and well worth the manageable risk.

Take a look at the Fiskateers. They’re a group that holds a deep love for crafting. That love certainly allows for targeted sales and intelligent media but Fiskars created a very deep connection with this group that data can’t define. It’s an amazing story of data working in balance with emotional understanding.

If we only use emotion to communicate, we fail. If we only use data to communicate, we fail. Pollsters and data geeks across the country are seeing this in full color right now.

The data pendulum has swung to its endpoint so we all need to be prepared for a swing back to an equal partnership between data and emotion.


  1. Data creates cold results without a deeper human understanding.
  2. Data and emotions together can produce connections that hold deep value.
  3. We need to prepare for the data pendulum to swing back to the center.


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