Betting on Big Data

Marketers seem to be in a perennial discussion about big data. In fact, so many questions persist, such as, “What’s its importance?”; “How much should organizations invest in big data?”; and “Exactly what steps should marketers take to act on all of the data they collect?” A spirited panel at the Teradata 2015 PARTNERS Conference and Expo in Anaheim attempted to answer those questions. Moderated by Bruce Rogers, chief insights officer at Forbes, the team of strategists revealed to the audience exactly when marketers should bet on big data. Here’s what they had to say.

“Data in itself isn’t so beneficial. But being able to leverage those insights is what’s useful. Can you answer the questions who, what, where, when, and why? Those, rather than just data points, tell a better story.”—Matt Ariker, COO of consumer marketing analytics center McKinsey

“You have more data, more challenges, and more changes that make things more complex. Think about it. At first it was all about consumer behavior, but now you’re worried about product behavior with the Internet of Things. Data is getting more complex by the moment.”—Ron Bodkin, founder and president, Think Big

“Some companies want to go from crawling to sprinting when it comes to big data. But it’s irrelevant about what tech is out there. It’s really about which [tech tools] companies can adapt and what [marketers] understand about the data shift. A shiny object, like a beautiful algorithm, in itself won’t do much good. You need a good foundation. It starts with customer data and transactional data. A new system doesn’t necessarily change the revenue impact. And not everything can be based purely on analytics. But companies need to educate their employees about the importance of data in their predictions. That takes a culture of innovation.”—Oliver Ratzesberger, president, Teradata Labs

“It’s important to divide the must-have data and the like-to-have data. Data can be better to have—or you can have analysis paralysis. [Marketers] need to decide how to automate the data so that they can get answers to their questions. Ask the high-value questions and then do something with the answers.”—Ariker

“It’s important to get those analytics right. Data is an opportunity to get things right, and for those who have underinvested, to make up some time and catch up.”—Bodkin

“Small data is data that helps you take the next step. It’s those insights. Data is currency today. It is one of the key points of differentiation in competitive advantage.”—Rogers

“A lot of data doesn’t mean good data; a lot of data doesn’t mean insights. Ultimately, it’s about driving outcome. You need to determine what your goals are. When you work with the data, you need to close the loop and make the connection between the data and your desired business outcomes.”—Ratzesberger

“The Internet of Things is really interesting. But right now it’s really more the Internet of Mess. None of these things are really talking to each other the way that they could.”—Ariker

“Actually, I hate the term big data, but we’re stuck with it. We’re really looking for characteristics and insights in data. It’s more about having the right architecture with that data you do have. It’s not about volume but the vision for analytics.”—Bodkin

“It’s not about the size of the data. Small data can be just as hard to manage as big data. It’s really about the ability to have collaboration across the organization to get the most from that data. Collaboration ultimately drives progress in the organization.”—Ratzesberger

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