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Big Data Made Simple – What Marketers Need to Know

By Chad PollittJul 11, 2012

Big Data for MarketersEverywhere you turn these days someone, somewhere is talking about Big Data. It’s in business magazines, blogs, radio news, television, etc. Big Data seems to be everywhere, but no one seems to truly know what it is exactly according to Forbes contributor Dave Feinleib in his article The 3 I’s of Big Data. According to Dave the definition of Big Data is still up for debate. All the while, corporate data nearly doubles every year. For marketers there is no debate — Big Data simply represents big dollar signs.

Big Data Defined

Dave quotes Ed Dubill of the O’Reilly Strata Conference describing Big Data as “data that exceeds the processing capacity of conventional database systems. The data is too big, moves too fast, or doesn’t fit the strictures of your database architectures. To gain value from this data, you must choose an alternative way to process it.”

He also quotes Doug Laney, a Gartner analyst, who said it’s “data that’s an order of magnitude greater than data you’re accustomed to.”

IBM defines Big Data with the below video and this comment:

“Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. This data comes from everywhere: sensors used to gather climate information, posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos, purchase transaction records, and cell phone GPS signals to name a few. This data is big data.”




In other words, Big Data is having the capability of analyzing very large amounts and types of data quickly utilizing hardware and algorithms.

Big Data in Marketing

A company called Qcue is developing algorithms for Major League Baseball teams to dynamically price and sell tickets in near real-time based on factors such as weather, opponent and playoff picture. That’s a simplification of their algorithm for sure. It wouldn’t be surprising if gambling spreads and wholesale hot dog pricing data were built into the system, too.

The service does what airlines have been doing for years, changing ticket pricing on the fly, but with a much more robust, quickly evolving and eclectic mix of data points from many different sources.

Big Data in Internet Marketing

As online marketers Big Data is all around us. The major social media platforms utilize Big Data to help manage and analyze the billions of data points from their websites. Amazon is so good at using Big Data they’ll be challenging Walmart’s dominance soon.

Google utilizes it for their search engine, AdWords, AdSense, Analytics and probably many other products. Ad and video retargeting solutions rely on Big Data, as well.

Many robust social CRMs have the ability to scour the web for social and brand mentions in order to draw sentiment conclusions. Companies like Salesforce.com, Microsoft, SAP and Oracle are buying or developing Big Data capabilities for enterprise marketers to analyze large amounts of empirical data in order to make better, faster decisions.

The Future of Big Data

Big Data solutions that help companies make better decisions, marketing or otherwise, certainly exist today. However, companies like HubSpot are poised to take Big Data a step further. Big Data helps inbound marketers understand what content, distribution channel, time and persona combination will optimize profitable online behavior.

HubSpot, and other companies like them, are building and delivering technologies that will not only provide this information, but react to it in real-time based on a series of complex behaviors online and offline. This is the future of Internet marketing and Big Data – identifying and delivering the right content on the right channel at the right time and to the right person in order to maximize profitable consumer action.



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