We all know that data is growing, but what are we doing to try to make this data actionable? The social explosion has driven much of this data, and the expectation is that it will continue to grow some 80% over the course of the next five years. Sensor data is only going to expand the amount of data we have to deal with as more devices are connected to the internet. Google understands the power of big data and has a CIA-caliber project called “Google X” where they are looking to harness its power.

How are you going to keep up with it?  It seems that by the time you get the information in a format you can understand, you end up having more questions, changes that need to be made or the information is out of date. How are marketing teams going to make sense of this data to stay ahead of the competition?  Many of the major players are focusing on this issue and producing tools, but how do you use them and deploy them without getting in the project line with IT department?  It is like having that friend with the best set of golf clubs who has no idea how to keep the ball on the fairway.

There has been plenty of excitement around software frameworks such as MapReduce and Hadoop that can produce incredible processing results on repeated routines, but if they are not used in the right context, you can increase the time to process by 2-5x over traditional database methods. Managing unstructured data is a reality with these open source technologies and we will continue to see promising refinement in this area.

This is the time to reevaluate your marketing methods by utilizing the many amazing technologies available, and to take a deep breath and examine your marketing strategy.  Is your prospecting data file being enriched to make it successful in new ways? Is your companies’ attrition rate being managed using social data? Most of all, is your data clean using robust matching logic and ready to be actionable? This is important before any of these marketing tools can be used and is the key to successful revenue producing marketing campaigns.