SXSW 2014: Big Data Key Takeaways

We’re big believers in the idea that data can provide value to both consumers and companies (see our Outlook), so we were excited to hear from the panelists at “Big Data Inverted: the Best Candy from Strangers?” Some thought-provoking highlights:

  • “Newness” isn’t always a need: data doesn’t have to be current to be relevant. Some content, like tying a tie, doesn’t change; it just needs to be available at the moment people are looking for it.
  • Anonymity and ephemerality build trust: people feel more comfortable sharing their data when they know it can’t be traced back to them specifically.
  • Big Data has to get small: as storage costs shrink and data-generating devices proliferate, it’s more difficult than ever to tease out the most relevant data. In order to truly help people, it must deliver the right data for the task at hand.

Can marketing truly serve and provide value to customers and consumers of both products and content? Great question.

People are similar in the way that they engage with content, but consumer behavior has changed because of big data being used to power their experiences.

Looking at attitudinal and behavioral data first will help filter through lack of context sometimes suffered by lack of context. To help us make sure we are talking to who we think we are talking to when targeting.

  • There is a clear age gate in ability and want to share data. Digital natives have a lower barrier to entry for sharing all levels of data to marketers

Leveraging data to service or communicate is in two distinct buckets. Creepy or Cool.

  • Using customer data from nowhere  = creepy
  • Using customer data from a known relationship = cool

Takeaways from the panel were similar to the Lab’s POV on value exchange to fully capitalize across audiences:

  • Tradeoff of utility for data will be based on more evaluation and balance of age and behavioral information to determine “true vaue”
  • Loyalty is different. Easier to switch, more powerful voice from consumers
  • Better inform customers before they hit the showroom or retail floor

Overall the use of digital data has changed customer culture and expectations of brands. Using Marketing as a Service is one of many ways the management of big data will improve the relationship between customer and brands.