- February 14, 2013
As the uses of Big Data continue to evolve with the creation of platforms and dashboards that promise in-the-moment marketing feedback, much skepticism arises as to whether or not they can deliver on their promise: real-time decision making analytics that are actionable and accessible without a team of data-scientists.
Though advancements are being made every day and with an infinite future of refinement to come, there naturally exists some uncertainty around Big Data, and what it can actually offer marketers. Here are a few of the most common misconceptions fueling such apprehension:
Myth: Campaigns take weeks, if not months to execute.
Truth: Big Data makes real-time campaigns a reality.
As stated simply by GigaOm’s Ravi Mhatre, “Big Data is useless unless it’s also fast”. At a time when social and mobile walk hand-in-hand, marketing departments must be agile, and capable of acting at the drop of a hat (or tweet). The fact is that Big Data has entered an era where “real-time” is possible, and business dashboards power crucial decisions in-the-moment.
Myth: Marketers must still rely on “gut” decisions, which may or may not be reliable.
Truth: Big Data powers success through simple data-driven decisions.
Another common theme among skeptics is the notion that the only people equipped to understand Big Data insights are the data scientists that are siloed in departments and organizations far away from management and marketing. This is simply not the case.
Widely available tools allow marketers and other business experts to derive data-driven insight without having the technical expertise of a data scientist. Marketers can now perform sophisticated analytics to deliver truly actionable information about efficiencies (or lack thereof) within a business, as well as tangible insights about customers.
Myth: Much data is useless.
Truth: All data is powerful; Big Data makes it possible for a business to find unexpected stories and insights.
With traditional techniques, data storage is expensive, and therefore finite. Consequently, companies have had to pick and choose which data is important enough to keep, and have thrown away data which actually could have yielded valuable insight. With new Big Data technologies drastically reducing the storage and management price tag, companies now have the freedom to save and analyze everything – those who do will quickly begin to uncover gems.
As buzz builds around potential enterprise Big Data use-cases, so does hesitation and concern that this is just a fleeting trend; but this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
While we’ve finally reached the point where it is feasible for businesses to tap and start to understand the data that streams from their market, operations, and customers, there’s still much room for refinement. Although one can justifiably state that we’ve entered the era of Big Data, where campaigns can be executed quickly and insights can be pulled in real-time, we’ve just hit the tip of the iceberg in terms of the untapped potential of these technologies.
Amanda McGuckin Hager is a high-tech marketing professional with over 17 years of experience focused on driving demand through strategic marketing programs. She is the Director of Marketing at Infochimps. Follow Amanda on Twitter.