Tuesday, January 10, 2012

“Big Data” Explosion

Listening to a BBC radio program about Green Clouds, I learned ninety percent of the world’s data was created in the last two years. I.B.M.’s Chairman Samuel Palmisano projects we will reach 35 zettabytes of information by 2020; 44 times of what currently exists today. “Big Data” explosion is here!

Read On:
Business intelligence is exponentially growing at an inconceivably rapid pace while you are reading this post. Companies are struggling to get their hands around this massive amount of external and internal data. Recently, Connotate, a web data monitoring/collection company, revealed that 45% of the companies surveyed believe their number one challenge with “Big Data” is the time and manpower needed to collect and analyze it; 44% indicated the amount of data was too overwhelming for business to effectively leverage. Nevertheless, as a Business Catalyst, I firmly believe we are entering an exciting phase of business, especially when data is mined correctly. We will evolve into smart business leaders who will develop sound strategic initiatives. We will implement cost effective contextual marketing programs that will result in high levels of customer acquisition and retention.

Below is a quick sneak preview of the future I envision for contextual marketing:

You are driving and you decide to check out football scores on ESPN Mobile – two hands, two hands please! Up pops a banner ad for Wendy’s Hot n’ Juicy Burger. You tap on the mobile ad, up pops a video. The next thing you know you crave a burger and you tap for the nearest location; 1.2 miles away. As you pull into Wendy’s, Modell’s Sporting Goods which is located across the street, thanks to the advancement of Near Field Communications (NFC) sends you via SMS text a mobile coupon – a buy one, get one free offer, on NFL jerseys due to the amount of time you spent online (ESPN) the past month checking out football scores. Thirty minutes, plus 1,760 calories later (who‘s counting?), with two Green Bay Packer jerseys on your front seat, you pull into your local 7-Eleven® store for some gas. At the pump you scan the QR code on the poster and find out that Coca Cola has a great deal on Diet Coke. In the store, while checking out with your 7-Eleven® loyalty app, the POS touch screen communicates to you about the sale on Oreo’s new, Peanut Butter Fudge Cremes based on your past six weeks of in-store Oreo purchases. Etc., etc., etc.

Welcome to “Big Data” explosion. Companies, whether they are B2C of B2B, will be able to send the right message, to the right target audience, at the right time.

So what data did you reveal over the weekend that some marketing geek has already analyzed?


  1. Your scenario, Jim, sounds like a transference of the online distractions shifting to the real world. After all, how many of us have done some random search looking for some bit of news, only to end up drifting around the web pulled by our curiosity only to end up annoyed that we got distracted and wasted valuable time.

    I think in terms of both data collection/analysis and behaviour models we create based on them will require us to ask one simple question - what ultimately matters? Sure, there is an exponential growth in data sharing going on, but how much of it's relevant or useful?

    To use a surfing analogy, the goal is not simply to catch any wave, but to wait for that right wave which will allow you to run the longest and accomplish as many moves as you can.

  2. We all are developing A.D.D., whether we had it before or not. Ritalin all around! Seriously, the technology for your scenario exists now, its just not been implemented yet. I just re-read an ATLANTIC article "Is Google making us stupid" (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/6868/) that posits that our brains have been CHANGED by computer activity. How will our kids brains function in 20 years? Is it a good thing?

  3. I explain to students the reason marketing has become analytic is due to the internet and the availablity of information. I thank my Category Management background for my analytic ability which has become a huge asset.

    A plug for DePaul University: The head of the Marketing Dept has evolved the marketing curriculum to include a good dose of analytics. We even have a new center for Data Mining and Predictive Analytics. We are addressing the need of businesses who say there are not enough people with this capability.

  4. Kudos to Jackie Keuhl and DePaul U. for taking the calculated risk to add these programs. It will put them ahead of the pack.

    It sounds like I'm going to spend a lot of time in my car, putting on weight. I hope not. Most of us can hardly keep up with things the way they are. Your scenario sounds insane!

    Fast Company's newest edition just arrived. On the cover is the title "The Secrets of Generation Flux" and the subtitle, "Modern business is pure chaos. But those who adapt will succeed."

    When I first read it, I felt some relief. "Oh! There's nothing wrong with me! It's modern business causing all this chaos in my life." Then panic set in once again as I realized...I AM modern business.

    Scary thought.

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