There was a discussion on LinkedIn in June 2015 that asked about the use of Big Data in retailing. The comments focused on detecting real time trends, analyzing purchasing behavior, and using historical activity to gauge the viability of upcoming strategies. It was short-sighted. Big Data was being used to ensure consistent or incremental revenue and profitability, but it wasn’t being used to detect breakthrough opportunities that could radically improve a company’s fortunes.
Commenters ignored a critical Big Data capability that can reveal the unknowns reflected in a diagram called the Johari Window. The window, named for two psychologists named Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham, was originally designed to define relationships between oneself and others, but it’s extremely appropriate for marketers, as well.
THE PROMISE OF THE UNKNOWN
The Johari Window has four quadrants –
In a hardware environment, everyone knows there’s a market for hammers and nails, but consumers may not recognize the hidden advantages of a hammer with a larger head that reduces the number of missed blows and bruised fingers. Likewise, a retailer may be blind to the fact that customers are using pliers to hold nails in place, missing the opportunity to stock, promote, and sell a device that’s designed for that task.
For marketers and the product developers who lean on marketing research, however, the last, i.e. Unknown, quadrant holds the greatest potential, and Big Data can exploit it.
We don't make things irresistible in a vacuum. We follow the same advice that we give to our clients.