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Big data, smart data, my data?

Big data, small data, my data?

I recently attended a thought provoking AIMIA event ‘The Future of Digital Advertising’ and as expected, ‘Data’ was a hot topic.

Big Data… is yesterday’s news!

The capturing of data has exploded with the digital revolution. Organisations are swamped with data and are now faced with the challenge of Big Data not only being big in volume, but also very diverse and complex.

Capturing Big Data only gets organisations part way there. As highlighted in a recent Responsys survey, customer engagement is top of mind for 94% of marketers but of these organisations, 56% do not have a single view of each of their customers. They are basically unable to mine their own data.

Why are marketers still focused on large-scale campaigns instead of the customer journey?

Paul Cross, Responsys Asia Pacific President said, “holding marketers back is lack of drive and vision. They have access to the technology, they know that it is important and the ways of achieving customer engagement and individualised life cycle marketing are known,” but in his opinion they’re not using it.

I find this statement quite harsh. Having recruited marketing talent for diverse organisations for 15 years, I haven’t noticed a decline in dedicated, creative marketers. These marketers have vision but 71% of them say they do not have the internal resources, and 65% said they are unable to effectively manage customer data.

I felt that Nic Hodges, Head of Innovation & Technology at MediaCom Australia, summed up ‘Big Data’ best. He says, “stop trying to use big data as a measurement tool and start using it as an insight tool. Big data won’t help you make bigger decisions, Smart Data can certainly help you make smarter decisions”.

Smart Data… is on the button!

But what is Smart Data? If Big Data is the technological foundation for data-driven business decision-making, Smart Data is the analytics we use to extract relevant information and insight from Big Data, and the visualisation we use to present the results. Smart data technology will revolutionise the way we do marketing, make business decisions, and interact with customers.

While organisations are still driving traffic to websites to collect data, the leaders are skipping straight to Smart Data. In June 2013, Ogilvy Australia launched data@ogilvy focusing on four key disciplines; Digital Analytics, Customer Engagement, Data Planning and Data Sciences. Andrew Baxter, CEO at Ogilvy Australia stated “Marketers are looking for a strong guide through an increasingly complex data environment in order to drive real business growth”.

My Data… the Future

“My Data” is the future of personalised targeted marketing. Can and will this exist in the future?

We are already seeing mind boggling examples of emerging technology from experiential companies such as Jawbone who created technology that is able to track how you sleep, move and eat which then helps you use that information to feel your best. To UK online grocer Ocado who announced in July the launch of new software aimed at stealing online shoppers from competitors. Ocado are using technology to provide customers the opportunity to put the control back into their own hands. Customers who are shopping online are able to import their ‘favourites’ data from the top four supermarkets to allow preferred products to appear in their ‘favourites’ tab before adding them easily to baskets.

While the hype of data is growing relentlessly, and marketing teams are being restructured to accommodate this grown, as a Talent Agent, I wonder if this trend could be stifled before it takes hold, thanks to a lack of skills to put it into action.

Stay tuned for my next post: “Part Two… Lack of skills a threat to modern marketing?”

More reading: 

How to be an amazing digital marketer
The key skills needed to be a successful CMO
Omni-channel marketing: why all the fuss?
Social commerce: Does it work, or not?

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