Customer analytics data, like a computer, becomes outdated in three years.

A lot can happen in three measly years. Just ask Lord Kelvin – you know, the guy whose name is on the scale of absolute temperature. Around 1892 he proclaimed that “X-rays will prove to be a hoax.” Three years later he had his hand x-rayed.

In 2009 the Indianapolis Colts were AFC champs. By the 2011 season, they won all of two games.

When it comes to customer analytics data, three years is a lifetime. Generally speaking, three years is considered to be the average life span for the validity of most market research – after that the validity of most data becomes a bit suspect.

At ColemanWick, we’ve observed that a lot of marketing and sales professionals – whether they’ve been at their job for five years or twenty – tend to think of their audience, and maybe even their marketplace or community, in pretty much the same way as they always have. Guess we humans are simply creatures of habit… unless something unexpected comes along to jar us, assumptions tend to stay assumptions.

But consider that over the last three years, while you were busy running your company (commendably no doubt), your audience was aging, shifting, experiencing personal growth, expanding their minds (some of them, anyway), earning more or less money, acquiring new tastes and sensibilities. Plus, over that time you have gained new customers or constituents and lost others.

Yup, a whole lot can happen in three years. If you haven’t done customer analytics data in that long, chances are dang good you’re missing an opportunity or three.