We marketers like to use buzzwords that show how up-to-date we are – even if we are not completely sure of their precise meaning and sometimes the very same expression might mean different to all. I recall when back in time I asked my colleagues what the abbreviation CRM stood for and what it meant – unfortunately have not jot down the variety of “interpretations” that had nothing to do with the real significance. Nowadays I have similar feeling when talking about Big Data.
It is not them but all of us
You could hear that Big Data is that huge amount of digital track that is being created by “the customers”, “the visitors to a web page”, “the registrants” – in summary by them. So we can analyze it, make correlations, recognize trends about them.
Hold on for a second.
Have you ever searched information on internet? Silly question, isn’t it? Have you ever registered for a service or newsletter? I bet you did! And I am almost certain that you have checked your preferences as well when registering. Have you ever bought something online? Most probably majority have done, if not all of us.
So, what you have done is leaving information behind on your interests, for the registration you have shared at least your name and e-mail, might have given your age and preferences on topics / products / contents, etc. For the purchase you most probably provided your postal address as well. Furthermore, you have given the opportunity to examine whether your purchase behaviour justifies the preferences you have stated at the registration.
In the past people, i.e. we, were leaving behind digital tracks without even being aware of it, or thinking about it. But times are changing and the value of such data is getting recognized.
When filling in a registration, I do check what is compulsory and what information is optional to give. If once I have given my preferences or personal data, I do not want to be asked again by the same provider. I go further: I have started expecting that the offers I receive are relevant for me.
The unaware data-leaving by now turned into a conscious data provision that in return demands service. Such as dealing with and progressing data is not a nice-to-have option for marketers any longer, but a must.