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Isn't big data really just anything that won't fit in Excel? However we define it, data is driving more key business decisions than ever before. We hosted a tweet jam using the hashtag CXMChat, and here's how some pretty savvy social media and data marketers see it.

Marketing Powered by Data

Marketers are now inundated with customer signals that could be used to define ever more targeted campaigns if only it could be harnessed. Is the technology only available to the largest of companies? Where are the most important gains to be made? We peeked into the digital toolboxes of some fine data groomed marketers for their thoughts.

3 Most Important Data Sources

There wasn't much agreement here on what is the most important data to track, but we agree that predictive analytics is of the highest order in the analytics world. We also agree that no one really has been able to put predictive analytics into practice. However, SDL has actually taken a unique stance on this front, and it seems to have the inside track on implementing truly predictive analytics.

Innovators vs Early Adopters

Many commenters agreed that there was mostly a dearth of data skills and tools, especially in the enterprise. While consumer focused companies are in the lead in this space, those in the B2B world do appear to be working with ad hoc systems that don't get much beyond the buzz.

What Not to Do

Everyone's a critic. Seriously though, there are plenty of ways to misinterpret data or mistake charts for action. One thing pointed out that we liked was companies shouldn't ignore metrics that are hard to quantify like sentiment and relationships. 


In House or Out Source

As to whether or not companies should do their own data collection and analytics, the most popular answer was for companies to take a close look at what their needs were before diving in. While both in house and out source approaches have merit, companies need to examine where their core competencies are before making that decision. Collecting data might be a good option for out sourcing, while analyzing it may be best to do in house.

Advice for Newbies

Any organizations thinking about getting involved with their own big data analytics implementation should make sure they are trying to answer specific questions. We often hear about marketers falling in love with their own data, and it simply means they need to be strategic about what they are measuring. The trap is when people think the data by itself is important. It needs to answer questions and be tied to business results.

Bonus Question

Should organiztions hire a chief digital officer or simply assign data and analytics to a team comprised of both the CIO and CMO? Perhaps companies will create the position if they become advanced in thier strategic use of big data, but most don't appear to need one just yet.