Do I Need To Be Concerned About Big Data?
Established companies already have a pool of customers they market to on a regular basis or at least know who they want in their pool of customers. Working with marketing data that you get from your customers is similar to wading through a simple stream of data; working with Big Data on the other hand involves searching through an ocean of data. Big Data is all about pulling together trends and patterns from massive amounts of data, from a wide variety of sources over a broad range of industries and then trying to apply those trends and patterns to make specific business decisions. The main questions for the average marketing person about Big Data are:
- How concerned should I be about understanding Big Data?
- Is it a helpful tool for my company?
- Will focusing on Big Data blur my company’s current marketing focus?
- How do I go about using Big Data?
Some things to think when deciding about your need to understand and use Big Data are:
- In the broadest definition big data is really about statistics. It’s about collecting and then analyzing data. A good general article on understanding the basics of Big Data can be found at http://www.cio.com/article/700804/Big_Data_Causes_Concern_and_Big_Confusion .
- The need for Big Data analytics comes into play when you don’t know where to begin to focus on your marketing pool. This is normally when you are preparing to market a new product or you are looking at changing your marketing strategy to develop a new trend based design for your marketing. Look at http://www.thoughtworks.com/big-data-analytics for the full discussion on this topic.
- Usually you should let the big boys do the heavy lifting and rely on their tools and data collecting efforts to help assess whether you are marketing correctly. Google, Facebook, and Apple ( through its Siri app) are doing just that. For most companies it’s enough to stay on top of recent trend reports derived from big data mining efforts. For a discussion on this go to http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/sunday-review/big-datas-impact-in-the-world.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
- Big Data focuses on the data and its analysis. But, does it take the human element out of marketing all together? It downplays the personal opinion and referral give and take process many companies rely on through social media. A company still needs to stay on top of its referral and public opinion pipeline. There will always be the personal touch in any buying decision that can’t be fully broken down by analyzing Big Data.
- There are numerous companies out there that offer services to help analyze Big Data and design a marketing strategy for your company. Make sure this is a step you really need to take at this time. Don’t change a workable marketing plan just to include Big Data.
We must use Big Data wisely. Any marketing professional should understand the concepts and principles of big data, but must also be prepared to use their experience in their own field to tailor the focus of their marketing in a way that reaches their potential customers. Big Data isn’t the end all solution it is just one tool of many marketing tools available to a marketing executive.
Have a great Thanksgiving!
Next up – The Lost Art of Communication