What drives online sales today? Is it a magic algorithm that mysteriously predicts exactly what the viewer is in the mood to buy? Could it be that marketers have been eating so much sushi these past ten years that they have developed mega-brains that know all and see all? Or is it that consumers now have so much money at their disposal that they really don’t give a hoot what they buy or how much it costs — as long as it’s not in the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog?


Nope. None of those things. And not your grandmother’s paisley shawl, either. What is driving online sales and marketing in today’s sturm und drang environment is data. Just. Big. Data.


It’s in all the news media today: Facebook wants banks to share customer data with them. And it’s not to send users a birthday card — Facebook wants data on banking transactions and credit card purchases. Scary, no? But for marketers who are willing to go with the flow and become hardened data miners it’s nothing less than a bonanza.


Data takes all the guesswork out of marketing. With enough detailed information on a consumer, marketers can get him or her to do exactly what they want. Buy a Hyundai. Eat at Red Lobster. Drink Moxie. Open an account at the United Bank of Scotland. Purchase ten pair of Nike shoes and bankrupt themselves. Or form a data driven army to take over Atlantic City!


Yes, we’re on to you Professor Moriarty . . .