Slippery Slope: Big Data and Predictive Marketing

street light

Image from: street light / Shutterstock

It is easy to believe that the answers to all possible marketing effectiveness questions lie somewhere in the ever increasing petabytes of Big Data. But, bigger is not necessarily better.

A recent study by the Direct Marketing Association revealed 60% of DMA members surveyed had no stated strategy for integrating Big Data into their marketing efforts—yet 57% still expected higher conversion rates from using analytics. Compete’s Chief Research Officer,Yaakov Kimelfeld, compares this over-reliance on data to searching for lost car keys in the dark:

“Big Data approach is akin to installing a giant floodlight shining 24/7. But since this light is not easily portable, it might still not cover the entire territory — where the keys are presumably located. Or it may blind us with its intense light and prevent us from distinguishing the keys from other shining objects lying in the grass.”

Big Data can tell us the minute details of what happened at the time it was collected, but all the past data available may not be enough to forecast what happens next. Marketing and media practitioners constantly experiment with novel strategies and introduce change, intentionally destabilizing the system to make the future different from the past. Marketers need a clear plan of how they will use data they before they start collecting it.

Read Kimelfeld’s full thoughts in “A Demon Under the Streetlight” on MediaPost. We would love to hear your opinion in the comment section.

About Carro Halpin:
Carro is excited to join the Compete team as the Digital Marketing Co-op for, with a focus on all things social media. A third-year student at Northeastern University, Carro is pursuing a major in Communication Studies and a minor in Political Science. She has a passion for digital media. Follow her on Twitter @carrohalpin or connect on Google+