Dark Data

A recent Wired
article entitled "Freeing the Dark Data of Failed Scientific Experiments," made me think of how
relevant this concept is to business today – not just science. One passage in
the article struck me:

“So what happens to all the
research that doesn’t yield a dramatic outcome – or worse, the opposite of what
researchers had hoped? It ends up stuffed in some lab drawer. The result is a
vast body of squandered knowledge that represents a waste of resources and a
drag on scientific progress. This information – call it dark data – must be set

Think about your company and the amount of “dark marketing
data” that is residing in file cabinets, managers’ heads, and hard drives. So
often, when we ask companies, “what results have you had with similar efforts
in the past” or “what response rates have you seen from this target audience
segment before” or “what research have you conducted regarding this product
category” – we just get blank stares.

A lot of time and effort is wasted because data from
marketing projects doesn’t get reported, only parts of the results are
publicized, or it is just not captured. This can be due to a range of issues — not
wanting to publicize a less-than-successful effort to simply changes in
personnel. We encourage you to develop a system that captures and makes
available everything you learn along the way. Free your dark marketing data so
everyone can be more successful.

1 thought on “Dark Data

  1. Kevin Fryer

    One possible reason NOT to disclose failed plans/research – who wants their competition to see what didn’t work without them having to spend the same amount of time and money to find out!


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