Start Your Path to Data Enlightenment

Posted by Tom Sather on

The Age of Enlightenment ushered in a revolution of thought, science, and analysis. Charles Darwin, for example, suggested life on Earth evolved over time, and Louis Pasteur discovered that microorganisms, or germs, were created by existing life and not spontaneously created.

By daring to stand up to dogma of the time, Darwin and other great philosophers and scientists brought society out of the Dark Ages and into the Age of Enlightenment. Dogma was replaced by observation, data, and reason. Alchemists turned into physicists and chemists. Astrologers turned into astronomers.

“Mankind’s final coming of age, the emancipation of the human consciousness from an immature state of ignorance and error.”  – Immanuel Kant

The Age of Enlightenment’s revolution of thought caused society to question authority and as a result produced the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, and influenced the French Revolution. Education was no longer a privilege of the aristocracy, and knowledge was shared open and freely.

We are now entering an age of Data Enlightenment that is proving to be just as revolutionary. New ideas in marketing and security are freeing organizations from dogma and best practices, resulting in better and safer connections with customers while being enabled by not just more data, but a better way to use data for deeper, more actionable insights.

Reaching Enlightenment

One of the Return Path core values states that, “We know we’re successful when our clients are successful and our users are happy.” We help our clients achieve success and happiness by guiding them on their Path to Data Enlightenment. As our clients progress toward Data Enlightenment, they achieve:

  1. Awareness: Using data and insights to recognize previously unknown issues and challenge commonly held assumptions. Before Louis Pasteur, there was a lack of awareness around causes of diseases, and today, most organizations are completely unaware of email placement or phishing issues that impact the quality of marketing and security efforts.

  2. Clarity: Leveraging data to get to the root cause of these issues and find resolution faster. Pasteur’s awareness of invisible bacterial agents paved the way for the discovery of antibiotics, and doctors were able to save thousands and millions of lives. For organizations, gaining clarity around the the source of the marketing and security issues may not save lives, but it could save a campaign or protect a customer.

  3. Connection: Data-based insights help optimize customer relationships while keeping them safe and secure. Organizations more than ever need to adopt a customer-centric model, much like Copernicus enlightening the world that the sun, and not the Earth, was the center of the solar system. By using data to gain a holistic view of the customer, organizations can deliver the right message at the right time while still protecting the customer and maintaining their trust.

To reach Data Enlightenment today, organizations must continually question and learn from experience and observation. That means asking why they have a problem, seeking clarity with data to know how to solve issues, and using data to continually optimize the customer experience. In today’s Age of Data Enlightenment, an organization’s survival today depends its ability to access the right data at the right time for awareness, clarity, and connection to be the market leader of the future.

Download our latest ebook, The Path to Data Enlightenment, to start your journey with Return Path.


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About Tom Sather

Email data and deliverability expert Tom Sather has worked with top-tier brands to diagnose and solve inbox placement and sender reputation issues as a strategic consultant with Return Path. As the company’s senior director of research, Tom is a frequent speaker and writer on email marketing trends and technology. His most recent analysis of new inbox applications’ effects on consumer behavior was widely cited across leading business media outlets including the Financial Times, Ad Age, and Media Post.

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