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Big data - don't believe the hype?

12/07/2013

Sometimes, things that are popular are not good, or not as good as they're supposed to be. For instance - cheddar cheese, Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, lager, Banksy, parody Twitter accounts of football managers, Stephen Gerrard and curtains (blinds are better).

But can big data be added to this list? Digital marketing professionals have been inundated with information about the technology trend over the last 12 months, with many analysts suggesting it could be a major part of the industry's future.

Whether this is true nor not is yet to be seen, with concerns still alive that there is more hype than substance around the concept.

According to a survey of nearly 900 businesses from econsultancy, 49 per cent of companies think that big data will help them to tie together disparate sources of information across their organisations.

The report, carried out in collaboration with Lynchpin, found that the majority of companies questioned feel that little to nothing has changed with how web analysts utilise big data technology since last year.

"Many marketers have no idea why big data may be relevant to their organisation, or even whether it is a useful term," said econsultancy senior research analyst Andrew Warren-Payne.

But does this mean that the concept has no validity in the digital marketing field, or has a lack of education and technological know-how hampered the sector from adding a potentially useful item to its tool-kit?

Arguably, the huge amount of hype around big data has prevented digital marketers from embracing it as part of their business approach.

If the more cult-ish elements of the process are ignored, utilising powerful analytic tools to glean more information about consumers or marketing schemes could be an extremely helpful thing for people in the sector hoping to offer clients a clear, data-driven overview of what they can do to improve their marketing strategy.

However, that doesn't mean it's quite as important a part of the future as some wide-eyed, table-thumping evangelists would have you believe.