Using ‘thick data’ to get past quantification bias

In the digital world everything can be measured, with the result that marketers are biased towards the illusion of certainty that figures bring and neglect the crucial observations of behavioural specialists.

An obsession among marketers with what can be measured is leading to a dangerous artifice of certainty and a mistaken belief that martech provides magical solutions to brands’ problems.

That’s the view of Tricia Wang, who describes herself as a global tech ethnographer and co-founder of Sudden Compass. She told Nudgestock, Ogilvy’s annual behavioural science event (Folkstone, June 2019), that organisations are deploying big data tools in a period of “quantification bias”.

Measurement mania

This, she explained, is the unconscious valuing of the measurable over the immeasurable, with the effect that specialists in observing human behaviour – experts...

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