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Big data and the information age: Demystifying big data in marketing

Updated: Dec 16, 2022

Big data is everywhere, and it's getting bigger. You've likely heard the term "big data" thrown around, but do you know what it means? It can be confusing to wrap your head around big data if you don't have a background in technology or business. This blog post will explain what big data is and how marketers can use it to improve their campaigns.

Big Data: Everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, and everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it.

Big Data is a hot topic. The reality is that everyone wants to use it, but not many know how.

It's not just about collecting data, it's also about how to use that data to your advantage. But people are intimidated by Big Data because they don't understand it and they're worried they'll be stalked by marketers if they share their information with them.

Does your business utilise big data for insights at scale?

  • Yes

  • No

  • I'm not sure whether we collect and make use of big data

Many businesses claims they're doing Big Data, even when they aren't—it gives the illusion that they're at least trying something new and innovative while avoiding any risk (or reward) of actually doing anything different from their competitors in the first place.

What is big data?

Big data is a term used to describe the sheer volume of information generated by our digital world, which is constantly growing and changing at an exponential rate. Big data is not just about volume, however: it's also about speed and variety. The three Vs (volume, velocity and variety) are used to describe big data — together they form what's known as the three Vs model.

Big data can be useful for marketers because it provides a wealth of information that can help us understand consumers better than ever before. For example, if you want to know what people buy online on Black Friday weekend or how many people visit your website on Christmas Day—or even who those people are—you'd need access to big data sources like customer loyalty cards or customer surveys (or both).

How can marketers use big data?

While big data can be intimidating, it's important to remember that you don't need to have a Ph.D. in computer science or statistics to use it effectively. If you want to take advantage of the power of big data and analytics, all you need is a clear understanding of what kind of information is available, how you can access it and how your work will change as a result.

As an example, let's say that the marketing team at Company X wants more insight into their customer base. They can start by analyzing customer data—such as demographics, purchase history and interests—to segment customers into groups according to similar traits. Then they can target those segments with personalized messages based on their needs (for example: "You love hiking? Try these trail shoes!").

The pros and cons of big data

Big data is a big deal. Companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook are using it to make decisions that have a huge impact on their businesses and the way we use technology today. A good chunk of these companies' profits come from their ability to predict trends based on what users search for or buy online—and then use this information to improve their services or target specific advertising campaigns at consumers who are more likely to be interested in them.

But what exactly is big data, anyway? And how does it work? As with any new technology trend, there's plenty of misinformation floating around about what big data actually is and how it works—especially when it comes time for businesses and marketers alike to start implementing solutions based on this information for themselves. Let's take a look at some common misconceptions about big data so you can get an idea of how yours might fit into the mix at work!

Misconceptions about big data

1. Big data is not a panacea.

It's not just about the size of the data, it's not just about the speed of processing and it's certainly not all about volume. While each of these factors may play a role in big data projects, they are by no means sufficient conditions for success.

Big data is an umbrella term that refers to any large-scale set of information that generates insight through rapid processing and analysis. The goal of any big data project is to extract useful business intelligence from massive quantities of structured or unstructured information. The business intelligence (BI) aspect of big data is critical since the goal of any project is to generate actionable insights that can be used to make better decisions. But, it's important to understand that it takes more than just data for a project to succeed. You need people with the right skills, tools and technology in place so you can get from raw data to valuable information quickly.

Learn more about digital consumer intelligence

2. Big Data Is a Mistake:

Big data isn’t a mistake. The term simply refers to the large amount of data that has been collected and analyzed by companies. This can include everything from your online shopping habits to what websites you visit while at work or on the weekends! Some people think it's creepy, but it's actually pretty cool when you think about how many times you've Googled yourself over the years (which is probably one of the things being tracked in this data).

3. Big data is a magic bullet for businesses.

Big data can't predict the future, and it can't do your job for you. But it does have a value that's worth exploring, both for its potential to help your business grow and for all the ways in which big data has already changed our lives.

Data has a better idea
Big data can absolutely be useful to businesses, but it is important to use it properly

4. Big data is new

Companies have been collecting and analyzing large amounts of information since long before we called it "big." The term itself refers to any collection of information so large as to be unable to process manually—so if your business collects a lot of customer data, that's big data right there! In fact, some people argue that many famous historical figures were pioneers in the field—including Thomas Edison who said "I have made thousands of mistakes" while working on his inventions but never stopped experimenting or trying new things because he knew that even when an experiment went wrong it might still teach him something useful later on (and maybe spark another great invention!).

5. Big data means numbers

If you're not familiar with what qualifies as big data yet feel like you've heard this term tossed around recently more often than usual then take heart! It probably means someone was talking about how important analytics are right now because they're key to helping companies reach their goals by letting them better understand how customers behave online versus offline; what keywords are most effective at attracting traffic; etcetera ad nauseam ad infinitum.


Big data is here to stay, and it’s good news for marketers. Marketers have more tools at their disposal than ever before, and they can use these tools to reach consumers in ways that were previously impossible. However, this technology comes with its own set of challenges and misconceptions—but if you know what you’re doing, there’s no reason why big data can’t be an asset to your company instead of a burden!


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