A lot of marketing is collecting data. You already know this. It's why Google and Facebook are more advertising businesses than they are tech companies because of the wealth of consumer data they have for ad targeting. Whenever you run a promotion on Facebook or email or even something as simple as doing a drawing at a trade show booth, you are collecting peoples' information. Typically their contact info but sometimes a few extra things in there. With Facebook apps, you can collect and tap into a lot of user data provided those users haven't beefed up their profile security.
So you have all this information about people. Now what?
If you plan on collecting data, it's good to have a plan on what do with it. Too often brands will collect all this information about people but not do anything with it. They will be content to keep on doing what they do without really regarding user info, demographics or even customer feedback on their products/services. It doesn't make sense to me. Why go through the troubles and costs of collecting data if you aren't going to do anything with it?
In my opinion, forward thinking companies who best leverage their customer data, whether it be through better message targeting or even product development using customer feedback. It's why companies like Google thrive and others eventually phase out. The most important weapon any marketer will have in their arsenal is data. How they choose to use that information will define part of their success.
What do you think?