industry thoughts from Clarteza

30 November
Mag Retelewski

William Shakespeare’s Take on Data & Time Management

“Why Then Can One Desire Too Much of a Good Thing?” – Shakespeare

These days, it feels like the discourse between the Marketer and the Consumer has become something like a Shakespearean sonnet on steroids:  No longer is the Consumer being poetically wooed in a 60 second commercial, She is being craftily urged with texts, video billboards and in-store TV offers each shorter than an iambic tetrameter for “brevity is the soul of wit” says Shakespeare.  Despite all the attention, nay, the beloved Consumer seems rather disinterested as She has to manage Her smart phone, home phone, blog, email, Facebook page, Twitter account and Pinterest.  Never ceasing, the adoring Marketer would love to clasp His hands on everything on thy sweet psychographics.  He fantasizes if at some moment amidst Her media social life, She is blogging about…Him (Read:  His product/service).  Then, at long last, He captures Her interests; All of them in fact; reams of them.  At once, He is overwhelmed.

Gray: “For my part, it was Greek to me” — Shakespeare

Raise your hand if you are a marketer, advertiser, brand manager or market researcher that feels  inundated by data streams….We can see you and we thought so.  We bet you’re also convinced that within all of those stacks of data there’s rich, game-changing consumer insights that must be found in order to stay competitive in the market (as well as information that’s really going to make you a super star).  Precisely, so let’s go through what we have:  Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Foursquare, website analytics, mobile phone analytics, geospatial data, and other sources are all added to the traditional mix of survey data, retail POS, etc.

Clear:  “Master the language”

Even though contemporary data might come delivered on an HP inkjet in 12 point Verdana, it can actually feel like reading one of those 4000 page Norton Anthology books of Old English literature where half of the page is footnoted translations of Old English words.  If you don’t exactly know what “geospatial data” is yet, don’t be ashamed.  Learn the language.  And if you’re one of those people who is so uber sophisticated with marketing technology trends and lingo that I wrote “uber” because you came up with the word on the first blog site created 15 years ago; then be a trailblazer and educate others at your company.


Gray:  “It’ll have to wait until to-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow” – from Macbeth

These days, it is a statistical reality that 80% of the regular work day is spent in meetings.  For some companies, they’re experimenting with improving the quality of the meetings and in doing so lengthening the meeting times from say, one hour meetings to no less than two or three hour meetings.  This can only mean that non-meeting time is relegated to after-hours when the mailbox is teeming at 250+ messages and the voice mail is at full capacity.  It’s enough to make you feel as if you’re “creep[ing at] this petty pace from day to day.”  (Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5)

Clear:  “Let every man be master of his time” – Shakespeare.  You be master of yours!

The good news is that you don’t need to hire more people and you don’t need to burn out your current employees you have by inundating them with all of those reams of data.  If you are able to block out time on your calendar and honor it, you will have time.


Gray: Assuming I have the language down, and the time, what do I do with all of this data?

Information might contain insights but by itself, it is just a stack of papers with no meaning.  As Shakespeare said, “Nothing can come from nothing” so you have no choice but to give meaning to it.  But with even well-managed time working against you, how can you do this best?

Clear:  Shakespeare’s Best Friend(s)

Find your “focus” and embrace the “journey.”  The only way to do this is by allowing your connections both inside and outside of your company to guide your curiosity and goals.  When Ben Jonson wanted to write a play, he met William Shakespeare.  Jonson embraced Shakespeare’s expertise and they collaborated on numerous Jonson play-writes including, Everyman in his Humour.   Other Shakespearean mentees include:  Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher. While in the modern world of marketing there is often a desire to keep projects confidential just as we used to keep our high school crushes relegated to a secret binder.  On the contrary, of course, sharing what we’re yearning for has the power to attract the information we seek.  And it’s so much more efficient! If you don’t believe me, just try it.  Some of the best resources are consultants that are armed with extensive and relevant experience. Share with them what’s important to the brand, to you and what success looks like and, in return, you’re likely to find out which reams and data points are the most relevant to your project’s journey.


Gray:  More or Less?  That is the question.

We’ve been taught by motivational speakers that “less is more” but also that War & Peace is a profoundly wonderful piece of literature.  In other words, there’s a contradiction amongst most intellectuals between the virtues of Less and More.  In our working environment, “collaboration” is a buzz word (and “buzz word” is now a “buzz word”) that, loosely translated, means everyone gets to leave their mark.  And if everyone gets to build on everyone then (take a breath) that means we just have more stuff!  On the other hand, if you’re working with a micromanager who isn’t collaborative, they might only choose to include their ideas into a given presentation which means that “less” is being offered.  What to do?

Clear:  “Parting is such bitter sweetness” — Shakespeare

Making a decision as to whether ideas, data or copy stays or goes starts with parting yourself into one of two categories.  Are you an Editor or a Composer?  If your job is to edit someone else’s presentation, then you might be inclined to wield a large eraser to make the work feel more “ownable” to you.  On the other hand, if you’re the Composer and self-editor, then your tendency might be to have an overabundance, “moreness” (I made that word up) because you will have fallen madly in love with the process of unearthing insights and the magnificent output of next steps.  So, Editors (whether an individual or a collaborative Team) should approach the project with an awareness of the almighty eraser then absorb the “sweetness” from the author.  Only edit out what feels unnecessary.  And as for you Creators, revel in your research but then find the strength within to part ways with it and leave only the nectar.