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In the Age of Yesterday, we were always told that “Knowledge is power.” However after seeing a quote by Albert Einstein on Pinterest that read, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination,” we decided that in the Age of NOW!, “Imagination is power.”

At the ISBN annual conference, I participated on the “Big Data and Predictive Analytics” panel. I do not have much faith in the whole notion of predictive analytics, considering it to be more fictional black box voodoo than analytical science. Big Data has always been viewed as multiple source data trying to be aggregated. However, our panel leader correctly focused on Big Data not always coming from multiple and diverse sources but just lots of data, mostly internal.

The other panelists and audience comments all indicated that the idea of Big Data was scary. When it was my turn, I let my imagination speak. I noted that Big Data should not be scary because Big Data is made up of little data. And it’s the little data that begins to have meaning for marketing technologists.

The impact of the panel lingered and my imagination turned to Waldo, created by illustrator Martin Handford as a kids’ book in 1987, but adopted by fun-loving, quizzical adults. Little data is made up of lots of data “points.” Every one of those data points has a face associated with it, and every one of those faces is your salon guest, including Waldo.

Waldo is one of those data points and as we search for him in the mass of people in every Waldo scene, we need to put on our marketing hats, look at our customer data and ask, “Where’s Waldo?”

Marketing automation helps us find Waldo amid the variety of guests in your salons. Okay, maybe I reimagined Handford’s scenes as a looking glass into your salons, but we ARE talking about salon marketing. Waldo is the perfect way to describe how Big Data is not scary and little data is a powerful tool for all salons.

We already know a lot about Waldo. He wears a stocking cap, even in the summer, usually wears a striped shirt, needs a haircut, and always hangs out with lots of other characters. He’s skinny, maybe a vegan. And he’s comfortable in a variety of salon settings.

 During the panel, I said that it is important to put the human element on the numbers. Waldo’s not scary. Neither are all your salon guests. Each is an individual data point, each with a face, hair and a story, that compiled together comprise your salon guests.

The real reason Big Data can be scary is because each of these data points is in a continual state of motion. Your guests are in plain view, but do you see them in motion? If you do, you would not be looking for Waldo; he would be in plain sight.

To be successful in the Age of NOW! be guided by these principles:

  1. Waldo and his friends are not really hiding
  2. Waldo and his friends want to do business with you
  3. Waldo and his friends are each at a different point in their journey with your salon
  4. Waldo and his friends are fragile, very fragile – and all are FREE AGENTS

 CONNECTPlus™ is a marketing platform to help salons dramatically enhance their marketing by directly targeting guests at the right time, with the right message, digitally. No matter where Waldo is or has been hiding in your POS database, CONNECTPlus will find him, target him, and influence his next visit to your salon. That’s marketing in the Age of NOW!

Group 3 Marketing is a digital marketing agency with deep roots in the beauty business. The agency just celebrated its 28th year of providing a variety of data driven, creative inspired solutions each designed to improve guest retention and spur guest revenue growth. Learn more at or get connected at

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