Whilst the discussion was ripe with technical tongue twisters, the overall message was clear. Big Data, and its implications on Big Marketing, remains a mystery for many.
There is an endless stream of Big Data platform providers clamouring to prove that only they provide the most verifiable and cleanest solutions.
What is vital here is to not become fixated by promises but instead challenge the vendors’ capabilities to provide specific, applicable data which allows you to achieve the true purpose of engaging with data.
This purpose is to make more informed, Big Marketing decisions.
On March 20, thirty leaders from a variety of industries, stretching from finance to pharmaceutical to ecommerce gathered for Econsultancy’s Digital Cream London 2013, one of the landmark industry events in the world of Digital Media.
From this year’s gathering, questions over the definition and significance of ‘Big Data’ arose, as did concerns over data integrity, best practices for consumer journey tracking and the implementation of Big Data to enable Big Marketing.
Sector specific challenges
Big Data means different things to different sectors. Large pharmaceutical enterprises possess the necessary resources and funds to implement a macro scale data processing system – where colossal volumes of figures are comprehensively analysed and verified.
In the resource-rich pharmaceutical sector, time, human resources, and funding are made available to build the infrastructure needed to collect, crunch, cleanse and analyse huge volumes of data from multiple systems.
Therefore the enhanced capabilities allow "big pharma" to glean unprecedented insights and effciencies from the data they collect.
At the opposite end of the scale, smaller ecommerce operations are looking for new ways to condense and harness simply the data they need to allow them to invest in driving more sales through the best performing marketing channels.
For businesses such as this, the specificity and applicability of the data processed is essential. Although the interpretations of Big Data vary depending on the industry, the end purpose is the same – to utilise the findings in order to make informed marketing decisions and drive ROI.
The focus of the discussion on Big Data, which was chaired by Marketing Week’s Michael Barnett turned to the validity of the data available to marketers.
For genuine insight to be derived and successful, informed actions to be made based on data intelligence, marketers must feel confident that the data which is dictating their spend has been scrupulously checked and verified.
This is where choosing a respectable vendor becomes vital. A vendor must always be able to prove the validity of their sources and practices without hesitation.
Inundated by streams of data, it can become easy to forget that the consumer is the heart of Big Data and that they are the group that marketers are looking to better serve, influence and endear using data to better inform their consumers’ entire online journey from start to finish.
Using informative data can provide relevant insight into specific consumer habits and permit the enrichment of the consumer’s journey with targeted, personalised content.
Big Marketing doesn’t refer to the scale of your engagement with your consumer but rather the resonance of your contact: investing in the right channels delivers a lasting impression as opposed to a cold bombardment.
These focuses and concerns discussed at length throughout the duration of Digital Cream, and although the above topics are crucial to understanding Big Data, it was clear that Big Data in itself is not enough.
Simply possessing stores of data does not automatically distribute your marketing spend into the right channels and generate an impressive ROI.
Data needs to be understood in the context of its relationship to pragmatism and human input and is best appreciated as the raw ore, that when sculpted with human insight and an intelligent approach paves the way towards making perceptive and powerful business decisions.