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June 26, 2012 | By

The What and Why of Big Data

Big data is a term that we hear constantly in both the professional and general media. But what does this mean and why is it important to marketers? First my definition: Big Data is defined by the volume, variety and velocity of the available data to drive some form of business value (alliteration on purpose). A more detailed definition from Wikibon (a community of technologists):

Underlying every business analytics practice is data. Traditionally, this means structured data created and stored by enterprises themselves, such as customer data housed in CRM applications, operational data stored in ERP systems or financial data tallied in accounting databases. But the volume and type of data now available to enterprises — and the need to analyze it in near-real time for maximum business value — is growing rapidly thanks to the popularity of social media and networking services like Facebook and Twitter, data-generating censored and networked devices, both machine- and human-generated online transactions, and other sources of unstructured and semi-structured data. We call this Big Data.

Perhaps the more critical question here is why? In marketing, the single most important thing that we can be for our clients’ customers is relevant. Personalizing the customer experience with our clients’ brands is the most impactful form of relevance and, not incidentally, the one that makes the cash register ring more consistently. For decades, direct (and digital) marketers have incorporated customer data into their targeting algorithms. What’s different now is the variety of available data and the speed at which it becomes obsolete in terms of its utility for marketing personalization. This implies seismic shifts in the way we and clients need to think about how we collect, collate, organize and employ this data, shifts that will change the way we manage consumer and customer interaction management.

Customer data has always been considered an asset, using that data to drive business impact is where the value of that asset gets realized.

Learn more about our consulting, analytics and relationship marketing practices and how we are already employing various data types and formats to enhance our clients’ targeting and adaptive messaging approaches.

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