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5 Things You Need to Know about Big Data

Big data is on everyone’s radar and that was no different at day one of the Dx3 conference in Toronto. Marketers, agencies and IT departments unite with their big needs to make sense of all this data.


Dx3 Toronto Amia Big Data Allstream

IT and Marketing departments are notorious for being in silos, but to actually do something worthwhile with all that information the teams need to work together with common goals.  Makes sense of course, right?  But back at the workplace it’s easy to get stuck in our own worlds and back in silo-ville.

Scott Suthren of Aimia Inc. presented the 5 Things You Have to Know about Big Data to Dx3’s packed audience.  Apparently this was one of the hot topics of the conference – and with good reason.  We all know there is infinite data we can collect about our customers, but how do we process all of it – and more importantly what are we going to do with it all?

So consider Scott’s remarks which can help IT and Marketing get on the same page.

The 4 V’s of Big Data:

“It’s like searching for a needle in a haystack, but the haystack just got a lot bigger.” Scott points out the 4 key variables you absolutely must consider to find that needle.

  1. Volume – There’s magic in the data.  Find the most efficient way of getting to it.
  2. Variety – Humans hoard massive amounts of structured and unstructured information.  Make sure you need it all before you collect it.
  3. Velocity  – Blink and you just missed more data than you know what to do with.  Real time marketing is key, just like Oreo took advantage of at the Superbowl.  You can’t capture everything so when you take action make it worthwhile.
  4. Veracity – The truth is out there, and we need to find it.  But remember no amount of data will allow us to determine what a human will purchase the next time they buy, so combine the data with your knowledge of the market.

The 5 things you need to know about big data:

1. Develop a data strategy:

    • What are the KPI’s and how will you meet them?
    • Make sure you align those KPI’s with business priorities.
    • Bite off only what you can chew; then do it in steps.  It’s easy to get caught up in all that data and then ask for more – but hold yourself back!

2. Interpretation is key – and you need a professional to do it.

    • Hire a data scientist or analyst and make sure your team has analytical minds.  It’s worth the investment.
    • If your team can’t process the data effectively, outsource it to your agency or vendor.
    • Make sure the results you choose to action are within your domain. You can’t control the results, but you can control what your team puts their efforts into.

3. Data democracy is crucial to business relationships.

    • Share the data with internal groups.
    • Share your findings with partner organizations.
    • Companies fail if they don’t share.  You learned this in the sandbox as a kid and the same principles apply in business.  But make sure if you’re sharing information you also get something in return.

4. The end goal needs to be a positive customer experience.

    • It’s not about you, it’s about the purchaser.  Use the data and results to make things better for your customer.
    • Data security is crucial.  Your customer doesn’t want you to have their information if it’s going to leave your hands unauthorized.  Evernote’s passwords were hacked and this caused a flurry of customer frustrations.

5. Consider “fair data value”

    • When we search online to get information from a company, we give up our information in return.  E.g. Buy something on Amazon and they find out about your buying patterns.
    • Consumers are already starting to ask for more in return for their data, so be prepared for an eventual shift in their behaviors.  Personal API’s are a growing trend for consumers to block their info from entering a business’s big data bubble.
    • If we offer more value to the consumer in fair trade for their data, they will be willing to share alike.  Consider what we as businesses can provide to our customers for that fair trade.

Learn more by downloading our white paper, ‘Getting A Handle on Big Data Doesn’t Have To Be A Big Headache.’

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