Do Brands Get Big Data?

Just about everyone is ready to proclaim that we’ve entered the Era of Big Data. But check in with brands, and you’ll hear less about how they need more data and more about how they need to figure out how to tap into Big Insights from the data deluge.

For all the hype around data, brands aren’t yet ready, from an organizational standpoint, to dig through the data and make sense of it, according to Kevin Geraghty, vp of reporting and analytics at 360i.

Is “big data” an overused buzzword?
Big data is here to stay. It’s human psychology to overestimate the short term and underestimate the long term of these types of disruptive forces. Big-data results are not happening as fast as people would like, but the long-term effect is amazing. As we increasingly see big data effectively exploited, you’ll see a big differentiation between those brands putting it to use and the ones that are left behind.

The world is full of data; making sense of it seems very hard. Is there a risk there’s simply too much for brands?
Absolutely. Some are going to come across this problem. Brands need to focus on bringing in in-house expertise, like a chief data scientist. Right now, only the largest can afford this. But you need someone who is absolutely on your side to make mass into money. It needs to be a person with a business focus and a capability to handle the tech issues. This is not a technician. All these tech people are talking about big data from a tech perspective. Brands looking to build an infrastructure are at risk. Those who are focusing on business results and the models that extract info from big data will be more successful.

Has the big data era truly improved things yet for consumers?
I believe so. There are not as many examples as we would like to see, but look at the Amazon recommendation engine. Even something like thinking of what Google is as a search engine. It is managing data and giving information that is useful, based on the data. We worked with a brand, Cheap Caribbean, and by pulling pricing data, they were able to find the most cost-effective places to push their ads.

If there’s so much data being mined for ads, why are so many still completely irrelevant?
This is absolutely true. Certainly, there is a gap. Big data is out there. But the models and capabilities to exploit it are still in the early stages. People in display advertising are still on an old interruptive model, and they have not bought into the fact that the consumer is in control and we need to provide a supportive experience.

Any examples of a brand using data in a smart way that delivered real results?
Capitol One is a brand that has data in their DNA and really understands who the prospect is, what they are looking for and how the brand can be supportive. Enterprise Rent-A-Car is another example. Mobile is a big creator of big data, and Enterprise dives deep and understands how people are using their smartphones for travel. People on a desktop are booking in advance, and those on the go are literally in the airport and need to book ASAP. They discovered this by digging into their data and have, as a result, figured out the right ads to put in front of people on the go.