Turning Big Data into Big Ideas

Everybody’s talking about Big Data these days.  Mostly about what a Big Hassle it is.

A recent survey by IBM (or ‘Big Blue’ as they’re also known) quantified the scale of the problem, by talking to 1700 Marketing Bigwigs at some of the world’s Biggest Companies.

Over 40% of these Big Cheeses, Kahunas and Swinging Dicks stated that Big Data was the Biggest Challenge that they faced.  But 71% of them also admitted they were struggling to deal with it – Big Time.

Anyway, you get the picture.  The Big Picture.

The more we Big up Big Data, the more daunting it seems. We recognise it as a Big Issue, but rather like our reaction to the vendors of that magazine, we avert our eyes and hurry on by.  Or we try to break the numbers down into micro-insights which we can apply on a one-to-one basis.

Big Mistake.

Other industries will do the little stuff better than we can.  To put things into perspective: Walmart’s database currently contains 167 times more information than the American Library of Congress.  That’s Big.  Too Big for any agency to credibly manage.  Too Big for most of us to mine for nuggets.

But Big Deal.

The Big Opportunity for our industry is to Think Big about data – not to get mired in the detail.  We should be playing to our strengths and developing Big Strategies that use all this information to make a Big Difference to our clients’ business.  Most of all, we should be re-framing Big Data so that it doesn’t refer to the number of data inputs, but to the size and ambition of the outputs.

I’ve got an example of this, from across the Big Pond, that didn’t come from an agency, but could easily have done so.  It’s Big and it’s Beautiful.  Which is what we do best.  It’s Big-hearted but will still generate Big Money.  Which is the new deal we’ve got to strike with consumers.  It’s targeted and responsive, but not in a Big Brother way.

The Big Point I’m trying to make is that it turns Big Data into a Big Idea.

Which I think should be the Big Imperative for all of us.

Anyway, have a look for yourself.  I think you’ll like it.  Big Style.

SF Park

  • ben rachel

    Agree big time. However big the data pool, however whizzy the software and tech infrastructure, it’s still about applying data to how people behave, not data for the sake of it. 

    If lots of people didn’t believe in ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’ that big clubcard database wouldn’t be so big.  

    If data tells us the what, it is incumbent on us to unearth the why.

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