It’s funny what gets one thinking. The other morning, as I routinely checked my email, I received yet another correspondence from Amazon. This email, however, caught my attention. The subject line read, “Amazon’s Best-Selling CDs of All Time”.

As a guy who loves music, my curiosity got the best of me and I clicked on the link. Wow, quite a few surprises on the list, like:

  • Adele’s “21” was the best seller of all time for Amazon
  • Susan Boyle had two discs in the top 12, #2 and #12
  • #3 was Wicked original Broadway cast
  • #4 was Robert Plant and Allison Krauss, “Raising Sand”
  • Tony Bennett has two CDs in the top 30

These, along with nuggets like Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue” at #46 (only $5.99) a disc everyone should own, started me to think about demographics and how this information could be useful to us as marketers.

Initially I was thinking, this makes sense, most young adults and kids prefer digital downloads. With that assumption, I looked at the list again, Mumford & Sons, two in the top 16; Taylor Swift, two in the top 18; Coldplay at #10; Michael Buble, two in the top 20, three in the top 22. This list was all over the place, from a segmentation point of view, at least in my mind.

It seems like soundtracks to musicals are big in the top 100.

Then, I started to think how Amazon markets to me via email. They rarely send me a musical recommendation or list music I might like that is out of line for me. They know how to market, based on my purchase behavior. The essence of Big Data being used to help keep my life simpler and Amazon perceived as someone who knows me and what I may – or may not – prefer.

Therein is the power of data. It can be quite useful to marketers and it also allows us to test more wisely. They would be wise to test some CD bundle packages, which I have never received from them, or even offering up the top 100 discs at a great price.

So, do you care to share your good or bad data/marketing experiences? I would love to hear them.

Here is the entire list: