In the 50s and 60s, trucking and distribution routes formed hubs that allowed companies to reach out directly to customers at incremental scale. In the 70s and 80s, this led to companies using their limited media wares to capture your mind (and at times, your heart) through select messaging and the occasional story or two. By the 90s, data became an asset, as evidenced by airlines that would leverage their hubs to not only optimize supply and distribution mechanisms, but to vet out the market and adapt to it if necessary (this often didn’t work as planned, by the way, and many of them went out of business).
By 2010, data became its own substrate, creating new markets, as information and technology systems strengthened their ubiquity, and put more power into the hands of customers than ever before.
So here we are, approaching 2013, and many companies continue to scratch their heads. “Why aren’t more people buying my product?”, they ask themselves.
The answer: You can’t assume the market is there. You have to interact with it. You need to build intelligence around it.