With defiance and playful glee, the statement “it’s not ‘big data’, it’s just data” bursts from the mouth of Parry Malm, Account Director of Adestra.

This room full of marketers and B2B sales people, here for Funnel 2013, are clearly in for an entertaining and iconoclastic lesson from this erudite digital marketer.

Parry Malm compares the currently in-vogue use of the term 'Big Data' to that of ‘Web 2.0’ a couple of years ago. It has created a spike of intrigue that certain web cowboys can exploit for their own benefit.

What the term 'Big Data' has done succesfully though is help to put data on the agenda at last.

But what does 'Big Data' really mean and how do you get value from it?

The three Vs

Analyst Doug Laney way back in the nineties suggested there are three Vs that should be considered when it comes to data:

  • Volume.
  • Velocity.
  • Variety.

Parry Malm has added a fourth to this list: Viagra.

"It’s not how big your data is. It’s how you use it."

It’s the smaller packages of data that can help you achieve your ecommerce goals, not the sheer volume of it.

Understanding that data, no matter how small the detail, and being able to use it effectively is far better practice then collecting ALL the data available to your site and that being the end of it.

Marketing in 2015

Malm suggests the following as an example of how your business should be using its data within the next 18 months.

  1. Premarket to a custom audience.
  2. Send out emails to your warmed up customer list.
  3. Retarget behaviourally using custom approaches – hitting them with different creatives.
  4. Go to trade shows – it’s stil nice to meet customers face-to-face, the old-fashioned way.
  5. Attribute revenue across multiple channels – determine the relative lift or ROI per channel.
  6. Measure statistically which channels are working.

Also,  reacquaint yourself with AIDA (Attention. Interest. Desire. Action) and apply this when engaging with your customers.

'Email is a killer app'

The number of emails sent in one second is 1,670,000, far outstripping any other social media channel.

However, email only drives responses if people are made ready to respond via other channels. Malm believes email is absolutely key in marketing stategy, but only if it's optimised correctly using the right data.

For short-term email optimisation, Malm suggests testing out three subject headers first, then auto-sendng the winner. Re-send that email to non-openers after two days.

Then you should determine optimal positioning. Use emails to figure out key benefit drivers and position your content to follow suit. Test, retarget, repeat.

Again, Big Data is just data. It’s nothing to be scared of. As Malm states at the end of his presentation…

"Find stuff that works, find stuff that you can make money from, go with it!"

Check out Parry's Econsultancy guest posts on this topic. Is big data baloney, or is it awesome

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 9 October, 2013 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (3)


Simon Burton

Good article, thanks!
For Celebrus, Big Data is simply about doing a better job of collecting and analysing data with a view to helping our clients achieve a competitive advantage. This is very much a "C" Suite objective and we have seen staggering ROI's when proper analysis is applied to all data from all customers all of the time. The tendency has been to try to figure out what you need to know up front and then go and code for the data required to answer the question. The problem with this approach is often its the hidden or not obvious data that is required to "discover" what is really going on. Here is a link to an excellent blog by our VP Marketing, Katharine Hulls on this particular subject

almost 5 years ago


Matt Lovell, Head of Customer Data, Insight & Analytics at Eurostar International Ltd.

@ Simon - The flip side of that is that if you capture everything the question that arises is where you you start in trying to analyse things. I know from Celebrus' Speedtrap days quite how clever it can be however I've always struggled to justify the expense of capturing everything as Celebrus is capable of doing when actually some of the more basic pieces of analysis aren't yet being done and need to be looked at first.

There is also the element that Celebrus doesn't (or didn't - I haven't had a recent update) operate in the way of an Analytics solution in allowing the build of dashboards and reports on performance which means it's an additional cost to the business.

almost 5 years ago


Alison Benson

Based on the data that we received, the three areas that companies are heavily investing into are Network Security, Cloud & Mobility Infrastructure and Big Data. Naturally, these are also the areas where hiring is on the rise. So if you are a developer with a few years of experience under your belt, then you can focus on these areas and acquire the related skills.

almost 5 years ago

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