There is no shortage of data available to marketers, but are they doing enough with the data to move their business forward?
Every day, we are constantly bombarded with information, breaking news, op-ed pieces, conferences, and recently launched start-ups all focused on Big Data. These news spots and businesses claim it's the marketer's new silver bullet, and a seller's solution to declining CPMs and loss of revenue to commoditized inventory. Certainly Big Data is interesting on many levels, but for the most part, it's just a big pile of wasted 1s and 0s. The vast majority of companies that bought into the hype started capturing data without a plan and lacked the tools and staff to leverage it correctly. Rarely do any of these companies, even the most well-intended, appropriately action the data to move their businesses forward.
Clearly, I'm not going to propose that brands, their agencies, or even publishers abandon data and go back to user surveys and content targeting to guide their marketing and business operations. But what I am going to suggest is a separation of data usage between Action and Insight. Without exception, every company should be capturing key performance indicators (KPIs), modeling them, and analyzing composition to inform everything from their inventory supply chain to their sales tactics. This type of data and use case is what I would call Insights, and many vendors and agencies are providing these types of metrics to brands. Consumer packaged goods (CPG), e-commerce, and other travel/auto clients are leveraging insights to make better product decisions and improvements to their value chain.
All the articles and conferences covering Big Data speak to the goal of using it to drive 1:1 communications. Most brands and even their agencies have not achieved this panacea yet. I'd like to address a few areas where I think brands miss their target, and why not every publisher or brand is even capable of achieving a 1:1 goal (at least on their own).
These are only a few of the hurdles that publishers and brands face when auctioning data. Business can only leverage the full potential of Big Data when they have a plan on how to utilize it, when they work with the right partners to activate it, and when they understood the KPIs for tracking the results of how to apply and action the data. Without these, Big Data is nothing more than an endless, but useless stream of 1s and 0s.
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Larry Allen is SVP, Global Platform Sales for Xaxis. He has responsibility for overseeing solutions for publishers including Xaxis for Publishers, Xaxis Exchange, and Xaxis Marketplace globally.
Larry has extensive experience in digital media, marketing, and business strategy unmatched by most standards. Prior to joining 24/7 Media (which merged with Xaxis in 2014), he held senior management positions at cutting-edge digital media companies such as AOL, Viewpoint, Unicast, Yieldex, Real Media, and TACODA.
Larry also ran his own consulting business where he advised many major media companies such as The New York Times, Meredith, 33Across, and Business Insider. He is a frequent contributor to a number of trade publications, blogs, and industry conferences.
A graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Business Management, Larry is based in Xaxis' headquarters in New York City.
Follow him on Twitter at @lawrenceallen2.
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