MiLab Q&A: How Big Data Can Make or Break Your Marketing
3. What's causing the data to explode beyond just new names?
Morehouse: One reason for the data explosion is that it's cheaper and cheaper to store data—and because it's cheaper, fewer companies are filtering. In fact, a lot of people are no longer filtering at all. Many fear that they may throw out data that they may need, so they hold onto it, which again ads to the huge volume of data.
Another reason is the proliferation of so much unstructured data. When you post something on Facebook, it's a whole bunch of words—descriptions of vacations with your family, or what you ate today—but that information is not "bucketable" in the way that names and addresses would be, and unstructured data needs to be treated differently.
4. What are the biggest dangers posed by big data?
Morehouse: Customers are telling so much, through various channels—but the danger is, if you're not listening to them, you will not get across to them in the marketplace. When you're swimming around in lots and lots of data, it's very easy to be swamped by lots of reports without having any meaningful or actionable information. You can be swimming in spreadsheets without knowing what your customers really want.
Another danger is that many digital marketers have mistakenly concluded that digital data is the only data they need to drive marketing. Actually, you need the full suite—enterprise, CRM, POS, transaction data, finance, product data, etc.
Managing more data can also raise security and privacy concerns—each of which requires a commitment to enhanced processes and transparency in order to best serve customer needs. At DMA, we have long championed a system of best practices for our members and others in the ecosystem, including our Guidelines for Ethical Business Practices. These best practices ensure that safeguards are in place to protect consumers and their data.