Thursday, April 11, 2013

Big Data

A lot of attention is being paid to big data, which is the phenomenon we now see as a direct result of so much social media activity and software able to monitor traffic and metrics for the purpose of making smart marketing decisions.   

Marshall Sponder is an author, analyst and speaker. He writes and speaks about social media measurement. His book Social Media Analytics: Effective Tools for Building, Intrepreting, and Using Metricsis published by McGraw-Hill. I was in the audience when Marshall was a guest speaker at the University of Missouri, St. Louis (UMSL) on April 2, 2013. Professor Perry Drake had orchestrated a full line up of speakers, some live, some via Google Hangout to address 300+ in attendance that day. The theme for this conference - Digital Marketing. 

Among other things, Sponder observed a change in skill sets which will be required as the digital age continues. “If you consider the skills required for digital marketing you can see that students willing to cross-train in areas like graphic design and writing, for example, could be in high demand.” Says Sponder adding, “This could be easier said than done.” 

Marshall isn’t the only speaker who alluded to the market disruption and impact of social media at this conference. Big Data came up a lot. It is the result of collecting so much raw information that even the smartest statistician doesn’t know where to begin. Software tracking web traffic, information that can be mined that will project all kinds of consumer behavior, basic demographics and probability analysis - Big Brother might still be watching you. And yet marketers are choking on all the input already. “Like drinking from a fire hose.” Tweets a participant.

Preparing for a sea-change is an important message for students and marketers everywhere. It is also no surprise that the emerging field of mining all this information will be in demand for marketers as business leaders look to reduce the risks. It is exponentially more complex now. Roles will change. Business will change. That has always been true but now it happens faster and faster. Pay attention and stay tuned.  

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