Marketers: Ditch Big Data, Embrace Smart Data

Marketers, I have to be the one to break it to you… you are in an abusive relationship with Big Data.  Big Data makes fun of you, steals your lunch money, and kicks you when you’re down.  Big Data is not your friend and it’s time to part ways.  Big Data belongs in an enterprise data warehouse (EDW), under the gentle care of your Business Intelligence (BI) team.

It’s proven that marketing cannot achieve the agility and speed that is required for modern day engagement with Big Data in the mix.  The solution is to focus on enriched data points that use elements of Big Data as the source, but then discard the rest and send it off to a database.

So, what does the before and after look like?

Consider a website that gets millions of visitors per month. Each one of those visitors creates seven to ten page views per session and potentially hundreds of events.  Legacy segmentation systems attempt to collect everything and then post-process that data.  The result is a massively delayed batch process that creates backward-looking segments, which are then pushed into marketing systems such as display, email, social, search, testing and content.

This madness has to end in order for us to satisfy our distracted customers.  So let me introduce you to your new best friend… Smart Data!

Smart Data is created at the point of collection and employs an enrichment or calculation process in real time.  The result is immediate and actionable data that can be pushed to all of your marketing partners. Customers can now qualify in and out of segments in real time.  And, with the right set of technologies (see: Customer Data Platform), you can take action on those segments in real time as well within the applications and tools you already use.

Customers are ever-changing, so to try and keep up with them by using Big Data is what I’m going to classify as ‘marketing suicide.’ Smart Data gives us the agility to deliver the right message, at the right time, based on what’s happening right now.

So now that you’ve put Big Data in it’s place and are the king of the schoolyard… go enjoy your lunch. :-)

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