Big Data Goes Real-Time

April 9, 2013
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Data seems to be the buzz on the street now, and not just any kind, but Big Data. But what exactly is Big Data? IBM defines it through 4 Vs: Volume, Velocity, Variety, and Veracity. Simply put, it implies large amounts of data that is varied in nature. It is constant, and dynamic. The sheer size adds to the difficulty in converting the data into real-time, digital action.

The Holy Grail remains: how will this data be used? In itself, the data has no value, but when this data is connected with a company that can recognise the possibilities it offers, the tune changes.

Data seems to be the buzz on the street now, and not just any kind, but Big Data. But what exactly is Big Data? IBM defines it through 4 Vs: Volume, Velocity, Variety, and Veracity. Simply put, it implies large amounts of data that is varied in nature. It is constant, and dynamic. The sheer size adds to the difficulty in converting the data into real-time, digital action.

The Holy Grail remains: how will this data be used? In itself, the data has no value, but when this data is connected with a company that can recognise the possibilities it offers, the tune changes.

big data real-time

Extracting Value from Data

Analytics and engagement tools today allow a brand to sift through the vast quantities of data to derive meaning from it, giving brands the ability to capture social intent data. But capturing the data is only the icing on the cake.

To fully harness the potential of this data requires the ability to respond in real-time to it. This is where Programmatic Marketing triumphs. It enables brands to systematise Big Data, thus allowing them to deliver machine-based automated responding. For a brand, this adds to the scalability of highly targeted and personable communication, all executed in real-time.

While some may argue that consumers will regard these responses as spam, I argue that consumers today (mostly) have gotten past old hang-ups of being bombarded by marketing messages. As negative as this statement sounds, it also carries with it the negative consequence of consumers blocking out those messages. Proof of that lies in the carpet of direct mail that I come home to everyday, only to throw it all away.

But is it still spam, when it speaks to me like it knows me, and offers me something that I didn’t know I needed yet?

I say, NO. In fact, I’d probably say, Cheers!

Now, as both a marketer and a consumer, I can only see programmatic marketing as a win-win situation for all. Brands gain more traction from their marketing ROI, and consumers get less bombarded with irrelevant spam.

But when brands are able to seize that golden opportunity, like Oreo did at the Superbowl, the true power of real-time marketing becomes clear. I know all of you have probably had your ears talked off about the ‘dunk in the dark’ tweet, but you should know that Oreo’s Superbowl stunt is hardly a gimmick. It is the result of a dedicated company that has invested in listening to what their consumers are saying. Recently at SXSW, Emily Reeves, a digital thought leader and blogger, put Oreo’s ‘on-the-fly’ marketing to the test. She tweeted:

There should be a drinking game for every time @oreo is mentioned @oreo as great example of brand using digital/social well for engagement. (@reeves501)  

To which, Oreo promptly responded:

@reeves501 For every time you hear @oreo…DUNK it! #oreograbgo #sxsw

There. I did it again. Used the Oreo example, but in a fresh light. And there, in Oreo, is a company that continues to impress me with its witty social persona. 

The Medium Is Also the Message 

Social media platforms provide an excellent means to talk to your consumers. Knowing which platform to choose to send your marketing messages through is as crucial as the message itself. I recently received a direct message on LinkedIn from BT, announcing some superior fibre optic now available in my area. It was completely unsolicited, and inappropriate for LinkedIn. Now, if they had decided to push that campaign out on Twitter… I might just have responded with a “Thanks.” 

Giving Value to Data

Big Data combined with real time marketing can result in personalised and effective marketing, provided it is executed with tact and thoughtfulness.  At the end of the day, real time marketing should be approached in the same manner we approach someone on the street – to ask for help, or to be helped. And this simply boils down to the ‘value’ factor.