I’ll be honest. I have only been around “big data,” or at least the words “big data,” for the last few weeks. And, again, to be totally honest, it has taken these few weeks for me to somewhat grasp what big data actually is, and I still have my questions.
But who doesn’t?
One thing I have learned is that big data is useless if you don’t have any idea of how you want to use it. Big data is anything and everything digitally collected, shared or stored. No human being can take that much information and make sense of it. Instead, with big data, you have to start from the result you want and work backward toward the data — using it to answer your question: “How do I increase ROI,” “How do I get better sponsorships,” “How do I sell more tickets,” etc.
This kind of thinking is called data-driven decision making. And it makes sense. Data provides hard proof of which direction will work out best, of which ads are working or aren’t, of which customers are actually buying and where. These metrics are no longer a stab in the dark, a question mark filled with traditional media spend that has very little measurability.
“Big data isn’t a band aid solution for digital media — it is the solution.”
Instead, big data monitors, records and visualizes these metrics for us, helping us to analyze success and failure by the numbers, rather than by intuition alone.
Unfortunately, though, most companies aren’t using big data in this way. Instead, office politics are keeping many companies from properly utilizing the benefits of big data. Dogbert, as always, explains it best:
Of course, big data can be an immensely helpful marketing, sales, editorial and analytics tool for companies, and it shouldn’t be shrugged off as only a new trend or fad.
So, to properly utilize big data and make it actionable, here’s my layman’s advice — from a guy who’s only been around big data long enough to understand a sarcastic comic strip. And trust me, you can get to this point, too.
Set Real Goals
Formulating questions and setting goals for the data should be your first priority when looking for a data solution. By understanding what you want from your data, and ultimately, how you want it to contribute to your overall business goals — you’ll ensure that you get your ROI from whichever data platform you choose.
Interrogate the Data
Once you have figured out exactly what you want from the data, and have implemented a data platform like Umbel that visualizes customer metrics important to you, then you’ve got to start connecting the dots.
Using big data to make data-driven business decisions isn’t a once a year, once a quarter or once a month activity. It requires using and interacting with your customer data on a daily basis — to understand who they are, and then treat them like individuals. This isn’t just about a data management platform. It’s about using data to earn customer loyalty, create better online experiences and grow your bottom line.
And to do that, you need to engage as regularly as you want your users to engage with you — daily.
“You need to engage as regularly as you want your users to engage with you — daily.”
Yea, I’m pretty new to this whole big data scene, and, to be honest, I primarily stick to videography (my actual title here is videographer, after all), but I do know a thing or two about combining creativity with practical purposes — and for big data, it is this: for big data to be valuable for your company, you must first do some soul searching. If you don’t know what you are looking for, smart, actionable data will always elude you.
You need a plan, whether you’re an artist like me, a CEO or an entry level employee. Big data isn’t a band aid solution for digital media — it is the solution.
Now, repeat these two steps, and watch your ROI blow up (in a good way). Umbel can help.