Don’t do this at home


The big data backlash. It’s a train crash.

You like travelling by train from island nation Britain to continental Europe. You do, don’t you? There’s a certain je ne sais quoi. You like the idea of rocking up to the architecturally superlative St. Pancras (saved by bulldog British spirit) with not-a-lot-of-time to spare, flinging your bag into the overhead storage, pulling out your smart connected device, kicking back, tunnelling your way through the channel (what a feat of engineering – we’re so proud) and emerging again into daylight on ‘the other side’.

As a customer you were sold on your brand experience way back through the annuls of time. You’re already there and you just want to love, and be loved.

Then comes the Eurostar ‘Rendez-vous’ follow-up survey. Yuk. This survey is a sterling example of how not to engage your customers. In fact, it’s a brilliant example of how to lose brand advocates in one fell swoop of myopic ‘data sampling’. I can imagine the agency and the client dialogue resulting in neatly defined market segments, crafted customer profiles, data capture, reports and measurement. All forest, no trees.

This little tree tried their survey. Only to be told that there were too many other little trees with profiles like mine and therefore I could not join the ‘club’. (There are other people out there like ME? Are you kidding?) Dear Eurostar, you asked me for my feedback and then you told me you didn’t want to hear anything I might have to say because your data sample is complete. Extraordinary. This is market research with absolutely no insight. Worse, this is market research with no insight and bad vibes. There’s no entente cordiale at play here.

Whilst Eurostar may own that epic rail journey between island Britain and continental Europe, they don’t own the DNA embodied in, and symbolised by, that journey. Miss the point at your peril. Research away on narrow parameters. You will learn everything you need to know about always doing what you’ve always done.

For insight versus data, get off the track