5 reasons I hate big data

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How do you leverage big data? How do you manage big data? How do you make big data actionable? How do you protect big data? Thank heavens we now have a large and growing number of conferences to help us navigate these difficult questions around the newest and shiniest object in the digital marketing world!

5 reasons I hate big data

Please don't misunderstand. I don't hate all data. I like data a lot. (Somewhere the 30-year-old Chris just passed out.) I just don't like "big data." I'm writing here specifically as an email marketer, though there are any number of reasons for other types of marketers to hate it too.

What follows is my list of the reasons why I hate big data. I encourage you to add your own in the comments section.



Chris Marriott
Chris Marriott May 15, 2013 at 9:40 PM

Hey Mike--I am a big fan of marketing automation when it is based on consumer-initiated triggers. In the world of email marketing it has begun to replace "blasts" with specific emails triggered by abandoned cart, browsing behavior or date of purchase. Again, it doesn't need big data to get started, however. Just smart technology and a smart team!

Katelyn--One reason we have so much data is that companies collect everything they can, whether its something they can use or not. The more data is better mentality is not always the right path to take.

Katelyn Watson
Katelyn Watson May 15, 2013 at 5:41 PM

Yes we have always had data, but now we have more data than ever before, and it is not about just the data it is about the context in and around the data, and understanding how it all works together. Because there is so much more of it within the last several years around digital marketing apps, smartphones, and ad apis etc etc, there is just a lot more of it and it is more complex to find answers. It is no longer take your email segmentation and divide into 5 segments based on what they buy and wether they are male or female(which I agree a lot of marketers still are not doing). It is what they buy, what are their demos and behaviors online, who their friends are, and who their friends friends are, are they an influencer, what is the bets time to talk to them, etc etc...this is very hard for any human to make anything of which is why companies are creating entire models and solutions around this, and why it finally got the name. I too was super annoyed by it until I started working for a data company and realized, it is all about putting it all together to see the full picture, which most marketing databases can not do!

Mike Chornopesky
Mike Chornopesky May 15, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Chris, now I'm wondering what your take is on Marketing Automation? It seems to use big data to create marketing solutions. Apparently it is the Future of Marketing. However, try as I might, I could only see it as glorified email marketing. What's that all about anyway?

Chris Marriott
Chris Marriott May 15, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Thanks for your comments Mike and Lysa! Love the "data envy" comment... no peeking!!

Lysa Cooper
Lysa Cooper May 15, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Great article. Totally agree. We've always had data. We just have more of it now but if you can't work with your 5 columns of data, how can you expect to work with 50?! If you are waiting around for that "big data" solution, you're wasting time. Use what you have and build upon that.

Mike Chornopesky
Mike Chornopesky May 15, 2013 at 1:36 PM

Actually it's a brilliant ploy. My theory is that the term Big Data was carefully chosen. First, it sounds like something new. This differentiates it from outdated concepts like, say, Data Mining or Customer Insight. But more importantly it preys upon the insecurities of executives who constantly worry that they're somehow inadequate. Of course they will now fret that their Data isn't Big enough. (Data Envy?)