Getting to the Heart of Big Data

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Getting to the Heart of Big Data
Getting to the Heart of Big Data

Sorry, Big Data. It's not you. It's me. You're just not giving me what I need, and you need to change.

At the JUMP New York 2013 marketing conference, Graeme Noseworthy, IBM's strategic messaging director of Big Data for marketing, media, and entertainment, urged marketers not to settle for Big Data, but rather to pursue the desirable.

“The data of desire is looking through all the data you have when looking at an individual to get to the heart of the data that matters to them....So marketers can go from giving the next offer to predicting the next offer,” said Noseworthy, who defined Big Data as “when your data set gets so big that you can no longer effectively analyze it.”

According to an October 2011 IBM report entitled From Stretched to Strengthened: Insights from the Global Chief Marketing Officer Study, data explosion, social media, channel and device development, and changing consumer demographics are the top four issues that cause CMOs to grow grey hairs. In addition, The State of Marketing 2012: IBM's Global Survey of Marketers reveals that 27% of marketers don't track attribution, yet more than 50% of respondents intend to significantly increase their media spend this year.

“The tools, the technology, the talent, and the techniques; this is a real struggle point for digital marketers and CMOs,” Noseworthy said.

When it comes to thinking about Big Data, Noseworthy said many CMOs envision the three V's: variety, velocity, and volume (“and sometimes veracity”). But to really drive customer insight and relevance, Noseworthy recommended adopting a new “bill of rights”: right message, right person, right time, and right price.

However, the CMO's journey to desire doesn't end there. Noseworthy said that these four rights lead to the four points of optimization—content, audience, channel, and yield—which marketers should use to understand and measure audience segments. After optimizing these four areas, Noseworthy says, it's time to implement the four E's: educate by obtaining knowledge and observations, explore strategies to address needs and challenges, engage through pilot initiatives, and execute analytics.

“What are you trying to do that you can't do today…and how does that compare against your competition?” Noseworthy said.

Noseworthy said following these steps will help CMOs achieve their goals of using predictive analytics to “invest ahead of scale” and discover trends, measure effectiveness in real-time to allow marketers to adjust campaigns while they're still running, and precisely predict customers' preference. Noseworthy acknowledges that obtaining customer information for preference predictions often forces marketers to “walk that fine line between creative and creepy.”

“The way not to cross that line, or the way to do that appropriately, is to simply communicate with your audience and let them know what you're doing,” he said.

However, Noseworthy lists three “imperatives” marketers need to adhere to for the Big Data metamorphosis to be successful.

1) Understanding each customer as an individual:

This can be achieved by viewing each customer as a concept rather than an email address or phone number, says Noseworthy.

2) Creating a ‘system of engagement' that maximizes value at every touch:

Define the customer journey and customize experiences and products to align with where the customer is within that journey.  Use customer insight and analytics to deliver more tailored interactions in the future. “The way that we're engaging with brands has changed,” Noseworthy said.

3) Designing your culture and brand to authentically be one:

Use social media to interact with customers and gauge to what degree a company's reputation aligns with reality.Noseworthy encourages CMOs to team up with CIOs to help facilitate these needs. 

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