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7 deadly myths about big data


"Big data" -- two words that invoke strong feelings in the business and marketing worlds. Everyone knows big data is out there and that they have it; they just don't know what to do about it. Because of this, many rumors and misconceptions have arisen from the sands of confusion.


It's time to bust these old myths. Here are the beliefs about big data that you need to forget about.

Big data is accurate

Not all data are created equal. Marketers have countless, neat ways to collect information, especially since desktop and mobile targeting have matured. This may lead you to think your insights are correct. The reality is that your whole collection process may be flawed.

Adam Kleinberg, CEO of Traction, discusses this myth and why data analysis may lead you down the wrong path when interpreting the consumer.

Big data is all about size

Bigger is better. Right? Wrong. Just because you have many unique ways of collecting information doesn't mean you're not wasting 90 percent of your time. If you are obsessed with quantity, you may lose sight of the quality that will actually help your efforts.

The Weather Company's VP of programmatic, Jeremy Hlavacek, lives his daily life in the world of insights, analytics, and information. Here's what he has to say about the misconception, "big data should mean as much data as possible."

Big data is something new

While the term has recently gained some hot traction, marketers have always lived their lives in the world of data. Why are they pretending this is something the industry has just started to deal with? Your data may be coming from more places, but the process of interpreting it for actionable insights should remain the same.

Aaron Fetters, The Kellogg Company's director of insights and analytics solutions center, speaks to iMedia about why big data may be the new buzz-term, but not a new idea.

Big data can be analyzed without help or partners

You're smart. There are a lot of things you can do on your own, but managing and interpreting a heap of data requires help. Partnerships with smart companies that specialize in insight mining will lead you down the right path. If you try to be your own curator of your data, you could be shooting yourself in the foot.

Chris Cunningham, co-founder and CEO of appssavvy, speaks to iMedia about why it's vital in many cases to enlist the help of creative tech companies to assist in your quest for meaningful analytics derived from big data.

Big data is the Holy Grail of the science of marketing

Jerry McGuire once said, "Show me the money!" Today, it feels like marketers are screaming, "Show me the data!" Why? Because many marketers feel that data can justify any strategic decision. While it can be helpful, it should not outshine your instincts, talent, and unique sense of creativity. We don't want to live in a world where every ad is so perfectly tailored that marketing loses all humanity.

SapientNitro New York VP of global digital marketing and brand content Alan Schulman speaks with us about why marketers should not look at big data as the be-all-end-all way to make business decisions.

People can only be reached through analysis of data

Marketing has gotten complex, and accurate targeting feels harder than ever. Add to that the fact that every boss wants more targeting and cleaner delivery of creative. This leads marketers to believe that data is the key to reaching people. However, many other factors such as emotion and resonance cannot be achieved by plugging in data. It can only happen if you understand people. Dove's "Real Beauty Sketches" video had a data aspect in its genesis, but it took creative and relatable people to make it resonate with a real audience. Remember, people aren't robots.

Sharethrough's east coast sales director and 2014 ASPY Rising Star award recipient Frank Maguire talks about the nuances of marketing and why you shouldn't pray to the data gods to answer all your targeting woes.

Big data can be managed automatically with little personal input

Better, faster, cheaper. It's a mantra we all have pounded into us on a daily basis. Unless you have 24 hours a day to dedicate to your job, everyone likes a smart shortcut. However, don't think you can sift through insights by just relying on a computer and an algorithm. You really need to take the time to look at your data and draw your own professional conclusions. Don't hand over your instincts and experience to a robot.

Lori Schwartz, managing partner at StoryTech, speaks with iMedia about why you shouldn't believe big data can be managed and analyzed automatically, and how you should position yourself to inject actual expertise into the process.

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This article was assisted by associate media producer Brian Waters.

"Three darts in bullseye of dartboard," "A Great Dane harlequin and a chocolate Labrador puppy in front ," "Businessman cooking vegetables with a pan," "happy people concept," "Image of young businessman touching icon of media screen," and "Confused Man" images via Shutterstock.

David Zaleski is the Media Production Supervisor for iMedia Communications, Inc. and Comexposium USA. He graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a BA in Film & Television Production, specializing in editing, animation, and...

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to leave comments.

Commenter: David Zaleski

2014, July 18

Thanks Dan, I'm pleased you enjoyed it!

Commenter: Dan Audette

2014, July 18


You have captured my thoughts about big data perfectly in your post. Thank you for sharing. I think these are definitely important for anyone in the C-Suite to understand.