Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Marketing Data Granularity.

This week Nike launched its FuelBand accelerometer. It’s the latest extension of their Nike+ ecosystem and is predicated on the conclusion (derived no doubt from all the data Nike+ has allowed them to collect) that goal-setting is the key to successful exercise campaigns.

The FuelBand represents this through a single number that users can use as a measure of their progress. Its simple and elegant, but I was struck by their suggestion that people don’t need extreme granularity.

I can see why they might conclude this. Most people are looking for an easy life and tend to characterise extra detail as complexity and when I first started hearing the term (a couple of years ago) I had no idea what it meant. But the time I’ve spent around “self-quantifiers” has shown me that “amateurs” will go to extraordinary lengths to acquire granularity once they know what it is.

This and the time I’ve spent with the VRM movement convinces me there's a big group of people who would be thrilled with extreme granularity if there were third party intermediaries to interpret it for them. To interpret it in a way that stretches beyond a single number.

Now, FuelBand does seem to offer some degree of extra parameters but it's not clear that they won't also be similarly condensed. Maybe true user access to all their data will be the next stage. It needs to be because further engagement of already engaged people has to come from intrinsic motivation, rather than extrinsic gamification. It’s not just about how much they improved, but how they improved. That way lies even greater branded utility.


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