The new marketing meme, “Big Data” has captured everyone’s attention.
The rise of social, online behaviour, user content generation, not to mention increased mobile activity, has contributed to the mountain of datasets that have grown so large “they become awkward to work with using on-hand database management tools”, per Wikipedia.
The graphic below suggests:
The continuing global data explosion, which some say will reach 8 zettabytes by 2015, is demanding a new, smarter approach to storage. It must be one that infuses infrastructures with greater automation and intelligence to store data in the most strategic places, make it easier to access, and enable greater insights to be gained.
Almost any current technology can collect data. Information is captured the moment devices are enabled: RFID (Radio Frequency identification Readers) or CHiP readers from credit cards, mobile-sensing devices, aerial sensing technologies, software logs, cameras, microphones–and now… Near Field Communications.
Yes, Big Brother is upon us. We may all scream “Privacy” and “Foul”, however we can’t escape it. The minute we turn on our phones, make a payment online, post a comment on Facebook, or rate a restaurant on Yelp, we feed this Big Data.
Just imagine how this could be used in positive ways:
Consumer products and services will now be adaptable to customer needs
Everybody has their own personal preferences when it comes to movies. Netflix already captures your movie genre preferences, and makes recommendations on recent shows/movies you have watched. It is already capturing which devices you are using to watch these shows, and when.
In addition, Netflix uses Facebook’s Open Graph to provide you with friend activities, ratings and recommendations. Marrying that data with GetGlue, for example, validates the original information and supplements the user information with commenting, share data, as well as potential prospects.
When combined and correlated, these snippets provide insight that now allows Netflix to optimize their movie offering to you, and keep you a satisfied customer. It can also capture the comments and shares from those watching the movie in order to drive messaging to attract new users.
Now, predicting incidences of disease and finding cures is within reach
Healthcare can be a major beneficiary of Big Data. Hospitals and general patient care information has been traditionally gathered and stored manually, in file folders. That information was then transferred to microfiche. The health industry, however archaic its traditional information storage, is now slowly beginning to digitally archive information.
A McKinsey Global report released last year indicated that “effective and creative use of big data could create $300 billion in value for the US healthcare system. Two thirds of that would be in reducing US health care expenditure”.
But I believe the most significant movement for healthcare is in analyzing patient cases and records and determining commonalities, prescribed procedures and outcomes that can be applied in similar cases. Imagine if Big Data were able to provide supplemental learning for scientists and doctors.
By and large, however, the majority of health care information is locked away in a document – a patient’s medical records. Privacy protects this information. As it should.
For marketers, things have gotten a whole lot easier
For the database marketer, forget about A/B testing. Analysis of real-time data enables predictive algorithms to increase the certainty of future initiatives: development of products, services or processes.
For me, I love the fact that we don’t have to rely on statistical significance to extrapolate results. There is enough information in Big Data and in “real-time” to make analysis much more meaningful.
No more spending on expensive subscription reports from the likes of comScore and Neilson, which rely heavily on panel data and statistics to “seemingly” extrapolate to a population behaviour. This clearly doesn’t work all the time but there hasn’t been an alternative until now.
I can see having the ability to tap into markets already using my product, and gaining the insight needed to validate whether I’m targeting the right audience right NOW. The future screams, “Let the data show you who’s already using similar products” and that will dictate who truly wants and needs your products.
Now marketers have a whole lot more information about customers and potential customers. Traditional CRM allowed marketers access to customer:
- transaction history
- customer service calls/resolution history
- standard demographic information
Now, supplement that with customer social data:
- where he goes
- what he does
- what he likes
- what he loves
- what he hates
- who his friends are
- what he shares
- what he buys (outside of your company)
- what are his hobbies
- what he searches for online
- what he says
… and so on…
Marketers can even capitalize on what’s happening with competitors to obtain more robust intelligence into current online activity; social discussions and consumer sentiment; and be able to adapt and flex campaigns to maximize opportunities. At the end of the day, both the company and the consumer wins.
Technology and data collection is inescapable. It’s now mainstream and policies are beginning to change to ensure proper disclosure to the user. Yes, there is a potential darker side to Big Data and customers should be concerned about how much they share.
But if the above are examples about how it all can be used for good, then we can somewhat rest easy. The future looks bright!
What do you think?
Image source: IBM