Time to Put Away These Common Big Data Misconceptions

Every marketer loves data, but action is needed to make it more useful and effective. If you just collect the data and don’t adapt your current campaigns and apply it to your future campaigns, it is a useless tool. Look out for Linx in 2017 as we introduce some new predictive marketing tools!

The misconceptions about big data are all around us and it starts with the data itself.
When it rains, you can’t just drink the water. It must be collected, purified, bottled and delivered for consumption. Big data works the same way: It’s a raw resource that is a few important steps away from being useful.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to sit among a group of about 40 marketers representing brands, agencies and publishers. The only brief to the group at the start of our discussion was the question, “Is data dead?” Every member of the group thought data’s best days were still ahead. But, we all agreed, action needed to be taken to make it more effective… and to ensure its effectiveness moving forward.

We landed on three key areas of focus:

Open Gardens: Walled gardens can operate like a bug trap: Data comes in, but doesn’t come out. Facebook, Google and Amazon are today’s classic walled gardens. They provide an essential service to all involved, but—and there’s always a but—we are quickly reaching the point where we need data to be dynamic, flexible and transferrable. We must be able to learn from one channel and use that learning to drive decisions made in others, across both media and non-media assets. We need strong open gardens to drive brand success.

Transparency: Our industry is certainly making strides toward the goal of transparency between publishers and brands. Unfortunately, we have not yet applied enough effort to provide that same courtesy to users. We must deliver a transparent experience to them as well. We need to let them know how we use their data, why we use their data and what it means to them. If we are able to articulate how it helps publishers and brands deliver the experience they want, we will remove a good deal of current and future friction from the system. We must give users an open view into the ways in which we use their data.

Relevance: At the end of the day, there needs to be relevance all around—for advertisers, publishers and consumers. But great ecosystems must consider consumers first. Consumers have generally accepted that data runs in the background and is necessary to operate their favorite platforms. Still, as time has gone on, those same users have begun to question the value exchange: Marketers target them with advertising, platforms get wealthy and their experiences get slower and clunkier. If we don’t want a mutiny on our hands, we need to ensure a proper value delivery: more precision, more benefit and more surprise and delight. We must give consumers more value. Value equals relevance.

Our discussion was very satisfying and inspiring. For starters, it felt like professionals from different corners of the industry were on the same page on what needed to be done next to best leverage data. I also came away feeling that my company was sitting at the right intersection to help make it happen.

The Weather Company has been a data company since its founding as The Weather Channel in 1982. At its core, a weather forecast is simply a disparate set of data that has been brought together to help people make decisions. From our startup beginnings, we have grown to deliver more than 25 billion forecasts originating from 2.2 billion different locations each day. We turn scale into precision by leveraging these forecasts together and making each one stronger than the one before it. In essence, we’ve always been about collecting, purifying, bottling and delivering data for our consumers and customers: Turning rain into something we can consume (forgive the analogy).

Earlier this year, we became part of IBM, which saw the value in that scale and the power it provides. We are now part of the same team that developed and deploys Watson, the world’s most powerful cognitive thinking platform. Cognitive is another word for augmented intelligence, which interprets data of all kinds—from weather and location, to images and video—and then applies human logic to grow its level of expertise. Essentially, Watson makes data owners smarter and enables them to make decisions with more confidence. Watson may well be the open and transparent platform that is best able to drive relevance for brands, businesses and consumers alike.

What an exciting time to be in the advertising industry, with a constant stream of advancements being introduced that were virtually unimaginable only a few years ago. Let’s put them to use to drive positive impact for the industry.

Source: AdWeek December 12, 2016