‘Big Data’ is the phrase of the moment in tech circles which probably means it will be appearing on the to-do lists of marketing folk soon. The expression refers mainly to the oceans of information being poured continuously onto the open web and social networks by ever more connected consumers (aka people). This tsunami comes in the shape of comments, images, scans, tweets, likes, views, posts, videos and a kaleidoscope of other digital expressions. However, whilst people's everyday lives are providing a big piece of the pie, the scope of Big Data goes much further. Less obvious but just as vast are the intelligence flows that stem from our web browsing behaviour or location signals from smartphones. Other component parts include corporations publishing market information , governments opening up public data for others to use, or vast social platforms that encourage smart developers to weave new applications and services. The result is a share-and-compare economy where people, companies and organisations trade digital views, opinions and information in order to help make decisions - commercial or otherwise. As ever, this creates challenges and opportunities for marketing and brand folk. But there’s no shortage...
...of suppliers, including IBM, Adobe and Accenture bombarding the fabled C-Suite with offers of help. All of these technology giants are offering services that gather and make sense of the data being created within networked media oceans, thereby improving decisions about marketing strategy, and throwing light on the most famous dilemma in advertising.
In reality, despite the buzz, it’s early days. However, whilst still a distant rumble, there seems little doubt that Big Data will be one of the next mega-waves to crash onto the shores of the marketing industry creating a new set of difficulties to navigate, not to mention new super-competitors to battle. This is because more and more media, including TV, is gradually becoming software driven and subsequently being drawn into the Big Data explosion.
Last week’s Campaign Magazine gave a taster of the impact this new wave of digital technology may have. IBM, a $200bn top-predator from the technology sector, had a full-page advertisement promoting its survey of 1700 CMOs who describe their priorities being less about creativity and more about getting to grips with a world of Big Data. Meanwhile, in the same edition, Claire Beale, the magazine's editor, commented that she found IBM's findings, 'depressing,' and that, 'creativity defies data'. However, the reality is that this data-driven world is shaping up and will be the new reality sooner than might seem likely. And while fantastic creative thinking is always going to be a vital aspect of brand strategy, Chairmen and shareholders are just as excited by data that helps work out where their money is going.