You’ve probably been hearing all the pundits talk about Big Data. I talk about it too. But is Big Data really changing your marketing? Probably not. Most of us are doing a crappy job with “small data,” and the reason has nothing to do with data. It has to do with us.
Most of us have data all around us, but we don’t use it. We know how many visitors come to our websites. We know how many likes our fan page has. But we don’t know how much profit our marketing tactics lead to. We don’t know the lifetime value of our customers.
And that matters.
We’re counting things that are easy to count, but we aren’t counting things that help us make better decisions. Who cares how many visitors you get to your website? Suppose visitors went up 2% last month? What do you do next month? The same things as last month?
The way to be ready for Big Data is to start making marketing decisions with Little Data. When we start analyzing the effectiveness of each technique individually, that is when we can start to improve our marketing. It isn’t important to count the total number of site visitors–what you want to know is whether a particular video or blog post drove visitors. What were they about? What is the best thing to try next time?
Every year, computing power increases at a lower price. What that means is that we will be inundated with more and more data as time goes on. What passes for Big Data now will be laughably small in a few years. So how can we be ready?
We need to set up the feedback loops now that help us make better decisions. If we adopt data-based decision making around every marketing decision, we will be ready for truly Big Data in the years to come. First, we need to change the culture so that decisions are made based on data–whatever data we have now. Next, we’ll make our decisions using more and more data.
What about you? Are you preparing for the data-driven culture? What’s important is that data is big, that decisions are based on data.