If 2020 is the year, we have to be careful not to become encyclopedia editors blinded by data, good or bad. But ideas can be hard to cultivate in big companies that rely solely on data, because data doesn’t tell us whether something is a good idea. The company used its Oxydol soap to sponsor a new daytime radio show called “My Perkins,” based on the idea that people want to be entertained while doing household chores. It was a good idea born of knowledge, not data. Traditional forecasting and planning that uses data from previous years to predict the next 12 months has worked well. Can data from 2019 predict the number of visitors in 2021? That seems unlikely. There’s a great Adobe Marketing Cloud ad in which a dying encyclopedia publisher suddenly gets thousands of new orders. Later, P&G invested so much in radio advertising and sponsorship that the company reportedly practically invented daytime radio in the United States. If this had been a good year, that might have changed when the pandemic ended and business returned to normal. For many, the 2020 data is too skewed to be useful in 2021. It’s time to use what we know about people wanting to rethink the homogeneity of the high street and the mediocre offerings of many retailers. The connection between the brand and the show was so strong that it became known as Oxydol’s Own Ma Perkins, lasted 26 years and is the origin of the term “soap opera.” In 2021, it’s about how the business survives and thrives. Look at retail traffic forecasts, which are often so accurate that you can accurately predict traffic for a given day. The answer is less data and more insight. Retailers know they need to find new reasons to keep people loyal.
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