The 2016 Presidential Election is just over and lots and praise is being heaped on the Trump Campaign’s data analysis team for spotting trends and focusing the campaign on key audiences.
Clearly, the other side and essentially the entire punditry and polling establishment got it wrong. It seems that no one outside of the Trump campaign saw the magnitude of the victory coming.
Hillary Clinton, Democrats, the mainstream media, just about everybody got Trumped. Say what you want about our new president elect but, he sure surprised us all!
There will be more post-game analysis to come but, one early theory appears to be that pollsters did not adequately account for the fact that Trump supporters might be unwilling to identify themselves. Another key advantage Trump had was that a lot of people who sat out the last two or three elections decided to vote this year and they voted for Trump most often.
The Trump team saw these trends before anyone else did. They leveraged them to their advantage and won.
It’s a tremendous turnabout for Democrats who had been lauded in both of Obama’s elections as having mastered social media and analytics to their advantage. How could they have lost their advantage so quickly?
It strikes me that there are some people that “get” data analysis and many that just don’t. I see it in our customers. Many CEOs are brought around kicking and screaming to the concept of collecting and organizing data about their customers in an online CRM solution that their sales team can access and update over the Internet.
You know the look…
Some leaders just glaze over when a smarty pants wiz kid with a spreadsheet starts to talk about what they’re seeing in the data. They might understand that there could be valuable insight in the information but, they don’t want to hear about how it’s found. They’ll say something like “Just tell me what you want to do about it!”
And therein lies the problem. Whether you’re a CEO or VP of Sales leading a sales team or the prospective leader of the free world, if you don’t “get it”, you’re not going to be able to lead your data team.
In our Internet driven, always on, 24/7, information age, we’re awash in more and more data every minute. With new kinds of data coming at us constantly. Some will be quick to identify its value, organize it and leverage it. Some will only be able to hire teams of consultants that explain it to them and help them find value in it.
So, if you’re happy to come in 2nd or possibly worse, then it’s fine if you don’t “get it”. But, you can rest assured that you have competitors out there who do “get it”. They recognize that drilling into ever more specific bits of information that allow you to “know” each and every customer, audience member or voter and their hopes, dreams, wants and needs in precise detail is the key to connecting with them, convincing them and keeping them in your camp.
Leaders of the Future Leverage Information
At a minimum, the visionary leader of the future must recognize the essential nature of this skill set and the practices and processes that constantly mine for new insight in information. If you as a leader do not “get it”, you need to get someone on your team who does, now!
Leaders that win always have a framework of KPIs with which to monitor progress and spot trends. What has changed is that leaders of the future must also consistently be tearing up their KPI framework and reinventing it.