Big Data is a tool and should be used as a means to an end
“Big Data” is a misleading term. It’s not a technology, but rather involves using data to gain insight. Big Data helps you visualize structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data. This visualization of combined data provides a multi-dimensional view of the ecosystem your product or service resides in.
Types of data
Structured data, also known as Business Intelligence (BI), is transactional data. Examples include addresses, SIC codes, point-of- sale data, customer resource management data, phone numbers, emails, loyalty card use, and energy consumption data. Data of this nature can be accessed and viewed in Excel spreadsheets.
Semi-structured data consists of web server click stream data, such ad web logs, IP addresses, page visits, time on page, cookie tracking, geo-usage patterns, customer behavior while on site, and the development of user profiles. The primary characteristic of this type of data is that it does not lend itself to display in rows, columns, or text.
Unstructured data is the content of documents, natural language, Tweets, Likes, comments, blogs, phone calls, emails, audio files, and images. These are the elements of human communication recognized as content but completely foreign to machine language.
How to use the data “Big Data” provides
From a marketing perspective, Big Data can be viewed as three segments:
1. Big Data when viewed properly can provide better insight
This was once the domain of a “gut feel.” Now when combining the three aforementioned data types, a panoramic view can be created of the acceptance and use of the product or service.
2. Better insight helps in making better business decisions
All of this data crunching provides a granular to global view of the acceptance of your product or service offering. It is in this context that better business decisions can be made with regards to where to geographically expand, identify the most desirable product features and attributes, and which marketing efforts are delivering the anticipated results.
3. Better business decisions lead to better creative solutions
Big Data, when represented properly, can complement a creative brief by acting as a wall of information that can be prioritized, moved, and reconfigured for actionable items and measured for results.
“Big Data” challenges
Don’t be a slave to the data; rather, use it as a tool to sharpen the creative solution, extend the brand engagement, and think beyond the current place in time that the visualization represents.
In addition, be aware that small brands may find the results disappointing because of an insufficient amount of semi-structured and unstructured data that is available.
And finally, management has to be committed to Big Data by providing resources and direction. Big Data offers marketing accountability, but it is incumbent on management to decide the following:
- What to measure
- What data has the highest priority to aid in business decisions
- Where to invest resource and capital
- What to do with the data – how does it shape the business outcome
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