Do you remember those analog radios that required precise tuning to get the right station? You needed a certain finesse of the fingers – turning the dial one way and then another. The key piece to getting the right station was your ability to listen and weed out the noise from all the other sound waves coming through the speakers until you finally had the right station and you could dance to your favorite tunes.
I recently read two articles (here and here) on Big Data, which made me think of this radio analogy. The point these two articles drive home is that Big Data is just Big Data; it’s what you do with it that matters. In the world of marketing, this couldn’t be truer.
Now granted, the thought of endless spreadsheets filled with numbers may sound intimidating, but just like the analog radio, it requires “listening” to the numbers to find the information you are looking for while weeding out the unnecessary information.
I think Big Data is a very useful tool that can lead to great ROI for a company. But companies need to look at data as a tool to help drive decision-making and really learn to dig deeper. As marketers, it is our job to ask the “why”, the “how”, the “where” – the questions that help drive the analysis and result in key insights for companies. Without it, the data (big or not) would be useless.
Much like the radio, we need to know what we are looking for and where we want the dial to turn before we can get anywhere.