It has reached the point of excruciating to see the number of blogs and presentations touting the virtues of big data. Many of us have been analyzing large data sets for decades. Has data suddenly become larger and better? I personally know business professionals in high places who would argue they have more data but less clarity and direction.
The conversation on big data rarely dives into specific insights and actions but, instead, discusses that having a lot of something is better than not having it. Remember Engle’s Law? Basically, this is the economic principle that states as income rises the proportion spent on food falls. Why? Because there is only so much food one can consume. A similar analogy with big data. Just having more is not a recipe for intelligence.
The conversation we ought to be having is on meaningful data. In other words, let’s focus on the quality of intelligence coming from a myriad of sources driving meaningful and credible insight. Today there are great opportunities for us to leverage meaningful information in order to enhance our decision making capability. We must shift from a big data mindset to one where quality of information and its ability to answer our questions takes precedent.
Before someone in the MIS world gets their nose all bent out of shape that this is some marketing researcher offering a pro marketing research point of view, allow me to set the record straight. I’m currently working on a Master’s degree in Digital Innovation in Marketing from one of the leading MIS institutions in the country. I love data. However, I do have one agenda. Rather than getting caught up in the “more is better” argument, I propose focusing on making the best decisions possible by applying market intelligence that comes from:
- Secondary sources,
- Primary research,
- Internal databases,
- Social analytics, and
- Intuition derived from experiences.
Imagine a world where we derive insights immune from labels such as small or big data.
At the end of the day, it is all about being smarter due to leveraging meaningful information. Stakeholders ought to expect nothing less.
Am I being overly idealistic?
About the Author: Steve Levine is a marketing insights strategist and innovator who transforms information into stories that bring meaning and richness to a full-service marketing solution. Levine consults with The Incandescent Group clients as a part of our team-based service.