Is Big Data Big Hype or the Next Big Thing?

Last year, Big Data seemed to be the buzzword at every marketing conference. If merchants adopted Big Data, great things would happen – namely, better targeting of their clients and prospects, and the greater ability to build 1-to-1 relationships.

But there also seemed to be a Big Disconnect with Big Data. Back in the late summer and early fall, senior content producer Erin Lynch, wrote this article on Big Data being a game changer for marketers. And I remember how frustrated she was when she was working on the article. “No one wants to talk [with us about Big Data],” she’d say.

That’s actually an exaggeration – several people talked, and gave our audience some brilliant insight into Big Data. But there were also some merchants and marketers who told us Big Data was be “proprietary information.”

Others were hesitant to talk, and told us they knew about Big Data, but didn’t feel comfortable enough to talk about it.

So I wasn’t surprised earlier this week, when SAS and SourceMedia issued a press release to say most organizations have yet to develop and implement a big data strategy. SAS and SourceMedia surveyed 339 data management professionals about their organizations’ use of data management technology. The results show few organizations taking advantage of product, customer and other data sources.

According to the survey, 21% of respondents don’t know enough about Big Data, 15% don;t understand the benefits of Big Data, and 9% lack data quality in existing systems.

So is Big Data the next big thing, or is it big hype?

In theory, Big Data makes big sense. But it appears it’s going to take quite a while for Big Data to catch on. Once marketers get their hands on Big Data, what do they do with it? How will merchants use it the right way?

In this article, Dan Darnell, vice president of marketing at Baynote, sums up why retailers may not get a hang of Big Data in 2013.

“Key to this trend is the concept of algorithms and machine learning,” Darnell wrote. “The big data wave is coming, but few businesses will unlock its power anytime soon.”


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