Last Thursday I had the pleasure of listening to Ben Jones – European Director of Technology AKQA – at E-Day 2012. I learned about Mr. Messy and why he is a great metaphore when thinking about Big Data as a robust driver of business.
We are all Mr. Messy
Mr. Messy is a character by Roger Hargreaves. Mr Jones told the audience his son absolutely loves this character and he asked him why. His son said: “because he’s just like me: messy, leaving all kinds of stuff behind”. This was quickly confirmed by Ben – as most parents can when thinking about their kids I am sure. But in the digital world we are all Mr Messy’s, because we all leave lots bits and pieces of information behind: Big Data. Yes it’s a buzz word and a big trend and no you are not too late to jump in, because 90% (!) of the worlds data was created in the last 2 years. Which means data is growing exponentially. But you gotta jump on at some point, so why not start now?
Big Data in 8 Steps
In his lecture Ben Jones named 8 steps to get, digest en profit from Big Data. Here it goes:
1 – Recognise and Listen – to your consumers and what they have to say. He named a Target case as an example. Analyzing Big Data they found out that they are able to know when a woman was pregnant before her dad would know it, because of her buying patterns.
2 – Capture and Organize – get a true vision of the consumer by connecting your IT-department with Research & (online) Marketing & Communications (including your agencies). Only when connecting all of these can you really grasp all the data, connect it all and harvest the information.
3 – Analyze and Visualize – do this to get sense and relevancy out of Big Data and use Data Statisticians (some call them Data Scientists). Though there at this point in time is no educational institute where you can learn this, Bank of America, Cisco Systems and McKinsey are trying to get something going in this field. Check out Andrew Pole’s story at Target. And by the way: try to make the data as digestible. Use infographics in stead of excel sheet to make it as easy as possible to understand.
4 – Educated experimentation - ’Thinkering’ = tinker + thinking. Really understand the data you have. As an example Jones named the “Make it count” campaign by Nike where they consistantly tweaked the campaign, literally by the hour.
5 – Adapt & Simplify - Check the Fiat 500 as an example. From online big data was telling something else than showroom salesmen. After analyzing the data Fiat decided to make more 1.4 engine cars in stead of 1.2 and changed the clutch of the car to make it more robust.
6 – Close the Loop – It’s gotta be circular, a continuum. Make sure you keep getting new data.
7 – Be customer/consumer data obsessed - Invest in algorithms, make sure you have a flexible organisation, open up as an organization and be as simple yet as eager as possible.
8 – Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication inspired by Da Vinci. Harnessing big data is complex but if do it right it will drive simplicity and marketing & business direction.
So get started and be big in Big Data.
If you’re interested in Big Data also read | ‘Big Data is Gold. Data Scientists are Platinum | by Marlies de Gooijer.