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Why More Data Is A Good Thing

"Why More Data Is A Good Thing"

By Chuck Hollis, Vice President Global Marketing CTO, EMC

As we engage with our customers around big data analytics, one of the harder points to get across is why more data can lead to better predictive insights.  Perhaps they suspect we've got an agenda to sell them more storage? :)

One of the big uptake vectors for the new school of big data and predictive analytics is the dismal science of marketing.  Big data and predictive analytics are quickly transforming how marketing gets done, even here at EMC.

We're all the target of marketing pitches: some well-aimed, some not-so-well-aimed.

Recently, I was the recipient of a lavish marketing pitch.  Through the old-school lens, you could understand just why I was involved.

But through the lens of big data and predictive analytics, you start to realize just how far we have to travel.

The Story

This morning, I came into the office and found a large and unexpected package on my desk.  It was from a company I didn't recognize.  No, it wasn't ticking ...

Open it up, and it's one of those lavish corporate holiday gifts.


This one was a *very* large bar of expensive chocolate (2 kg or so), attractively packaged with a small hammer to "break the bar".  It was from a travel publication pitching me as a potential client of theirs -- advertising, editorial, etc.

Not as nice as the case of wine I once got, but very nice indeed.  Or was it?

And that's where our story begins.

Marketing With Limited Data

I thought a bit about how this had come to me:

- I work for a large company
- I have the term "marketing" in my title
- I am a VP
- Marketing VPs at large companies tend to spend money on advertising

Somebody had aquired some mailing lists -- and I fit a profile.

Hence, I got a very large (and obviously expensive) bar of chocolate on my desk.

Marketing With More Data

Now, let's add more easily accessible data to this particular exercise.

Yes, I work for a large company, but here at EMC we don't do a lot of print advertising.  That's discernable from readily available industry sources.  We're a B2B technology company, and don't usually pitch our customers in lifestyle publications.  Also discernable.

I have absolutely nothing to do with advertising or that end of marketing here at EMC -- we have professionals that do that.  While I know who does advertising at EMC, she and her team are in an entirely different building.  The fact that she and her team are responsible for all the media buying decisions at EMC is also available from external sources -- it's not a secret.

But there's more available.

I'm active on Twitter, and I have a popular industry blog.  As a result, I have a huge digital footprint out there, ripe for mining if you choose. 

Do the least bit of unstructured sentiment analysis on anything I've ever written, and I bet you won't find terms like "advertising" or "lifestyle" in what I write.

I'm a white male, 53 years old, and -- like most -- I'm concerned about diet, weight, etc.  Two kilograms of chocolate probably isn't the best thing for me to be wolfing down.  By the way, that information is also readily available.

Are you getting the picture?

How Well You Target Reflects On You

Over the last few years, I've started to think better of companies that know how to target me, and less well of organizations that seem to be playing by very old rules.  The information is out there -- do you know how to use it?

Not only did that travel publication waste their money, it made me wonder -- if you don't understand me, how well do you understand your target audience?

I ended up taking the monstrous bar of chocolate out to a communal area, and -- thankfully -- it's slowly disappearing.  Just like I do all the other random stuff that people send me in the hope that I'll consume whatever it is they're selling. 

More often than not, it's completely inappropriate.

But thanks for the chocolate anyway ...

 

 

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