Network webinar

The Dangers of Data


As Albert Einstein once said “Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted, counts.”

The invention of the spreadsheet transformed marketing and corporate decision-making. There is a widespread assumption that all information is good and the more of it we have, the deeper the insights we can draw from it. That is true, to a certain extent but averages and aggregates often conceal more than they reveal. Business and government decisions are now taken by people high up on a chain of information, who only have access to data in aggregate form that miss a lot of the nuances and details important for decision-making. There is a very real danger that we have now become over-reliant on metrics to show us what we should do next.

In this session, Rory Sutherland, Vice President of Ogilvy will argue that many business leaders may be developing a disproportionate love of decisions that rely on mathematical formulas or models, because it means they can offload the burden of an important decision onto something other than themselves. Equally, marketers’ increasing reliance on data to inform brand strategies is breeding an attitude of ‘false certainty’, which could be detrimental to businesses. He will also explore how marketers can best use and interpret the data they have and how to avoid some common mistakes.


Rory Sutherland

Vice Chairman

Ogilvy UK


Annabel Venner

Chair of Fellows,  Marketing Society and Former Global Brand Director, Hiscox


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