Thursday, 24 October 2013

Big Data vs Real Insights

One of the most powerful lessons we have learned from our intense Integrated Marketing Communication class is that big data does not substitute the human aspect in marketing and advertising. Instead, we need to go beyond data by penetrating the exterior of every single customer to understand them on a very personal level; marketers and advertisers will then generate strong insight that makes their products or ads even more desirable.
With so much data, however, marketers are given an amazing tool to manage and justify every marketing campaign’s decision with less guesswork and risk-taking than ever before. No one can deny that data does offer a very thorough picture of certain social networks or even of an exact individual.  It also gives a greater understanding of customers’ decision-making. But, with so much data available is it extremely easy to get almost blinded by big data, and thus to miss the customer’s real story.

In critically evaluating various commercials in our Marketing Integrated class, the matter of real insight becomes clear. Data has to be connected to someone unique, someone who will be at the end of marketing and advertising activities.  Metrics alone are not always comparable to real insight. One of the case studies we went through proves that while analytics were showing that “mums want protect their babies from wetness,” the whole story was about “mums who want to do the right thing.”

There is no doubt, big data is a fantastic tool that can improve marketing performance as we have gotten to the stage of the digital era in which consumers almost expect a highly personalised experience. However, there is always a challenge for marketing and advertising practitioners to step beyond what is easy to measure, and to find out what people care about and what motivates them the most. It seems to me that to attain powerful insight, we need a mixture of hard data and personal interaction.

Elena Sveshnikova
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

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