I’m one of those rare people who doesn’t mind going to the dentist. I don’t mind going to my dentist for two reasons: First, she’s very good at what she does. Second, the combination of her pleasantness and the reading material in her waiting room afford a kind of escape. With my cell phone off, I’m pretty much inaccessible there. I can get away from business for a while and indulge in some changes of subject for a while … most of the time.

On my last visit, my dentist had a copy of Psychology Today in her waiting room. I grabbed it immediately, since I’m always eager to find new explanations for and theories about what makes us tick. Much to my chagrin, I found this — “To Understand Big Data, Try Thinking Like a Psychologist” — which turned out to be yet another statement of the obvious, as well as a hackneyed promotion for the author’s services. (She’s a Customer Experience Psychologist. Good grief.)

Her 1,300-word treatise cashes out like this:

Digital marketers are forever on a quest for the holy grail: the website that personalizes itself to the consumer … The problem is that a perfectly customized experience is as elusive as the holy grail itself … Enterprises are pouring resources into personalization in a bid to gain an advantage on their competition and increase their profits. But so much of this is a waste of time and cash … identifying customers as people and not just spots of data on a chart — that is the real holy grail.

It could have been boiled down to this:

A perfectly customized experience [can only be achieved by] identifying customers as people.

And that, I humbly submit, can be expressed thusly: We need to stop talking (and writing) about digital marketing and data, and we need to start talking to people.

I know I’m more alone in that belief than I am in my dentist’s waiting room. I know I’m alone in that belief just as I know I’m increasingly alone in my beliefs in and convictions about the value of empiricism, common sense, the fast lives of marketing hype, and the short lives of popular fads, be they cultural or business. I’m okay with that.

I might be alone. But at least I have people to talk to.

Image by gerarlt, courtesy of pixabay.com.