We've heard the tales of how quickly companies are amassing data. We've seen the capacity to store and create data increase at a dizzying rate. We've heard the warning tales of big data thrown around so much it's taken on the status of the bogeyman.

Our contributors this week offered some hard-earned wisdom to help calm our fears about the big data deluge. But as soon as our fears were relieved about big data, we were told to fear content marketing and had cause for concern about the future of SharePoint Designer. 

Curious? Read on. 

Taming the Big Data Beast

Three Big Data Rules to Live By

Chelsi Nakano (@chelsi): The Internet walks into a [karaoke] bar: “Every breath you take, every move you make…I’ll be watching you.”

In today’s increasingly connected world, practically everything we do creates an electronic record. Every purchase, every status update, every Like becomes a part of the digital ether — a tiny but permanent speck in the growing collective. And as organizations continue to amass this so-called Big Data, so grows the pressure to prove its intrinsic value. If you’re lost as to how, you’ve got a lot of company.

Is 'Big Data' Marketing's Next Frontier?

Trip Kucera (@tripkucera): Big data is everywhere, both literally and figuratively. On the figurative side, it’s hard to escape the hype about big data, the term appearing in headlines of major national newspapers and business publications (most recently the cover of the "Harvard Business Review"). But the hype is happening for a reason, and that’s the amount of data we’re all collectively generating in our off- and on-line worlds.

Analytics: Tap into Data to Build Real Customer Relationships

Tyrona Heath (@tyrona): With the explosion of big data, most businesses are acutely aware that they are sitting on a mountain of untapped data, struggling to get an in depth view of the customer. Along with the rise of social media, multiple disruptive forces like empowered consumers, shrinking budgets, insanely fast innovation cycles and an ever growing number of channels underscore the importance of making marketing informed by data easier.

Reaching the Empowered Customer with Data-Driven Marketing

Lisa Arthur (@lisaarthur): The average consumer in 2012 is very different than the average consumer 10 years ago. For that matter, consumers today are a lot different than they were 10 months ago. Empowered by technology and with instant access to vast quantities of information, people have new rules for shopping, communicating and even relaxing. The bottom line is that consumers are now data-driven, which means marketers have no choice but to dive even deeper than their customers and competitors into the information goldmine.

Discussion Point: From Data to Decisions -  Real-Time Analytics Support the Customer Experience

Katie Ingram: Every organization captures data — social media analytics, customer interactions, website traffic and other metrics, the list goes on. That the amount of data collected is growing exponentially is no surprise, that technologies are emerging every day to help us capture and analyze this data is also no surprise. But how are these analytics and data support tools changing to help better support the customer experience and what can we expect from these technologies in the next few years? That's the question we asked our esteemed panel in today's Discussion Point.

Interview: Brian Clifton on Cutting Through Data Noise and the Future of Analytics

Siobhan Fagan (@smg_Siobhan): In the seven years since Google Analytics launched, the realm ofanalytics has changed hands from the purview of the IT department to the marketing department and beyond. But just because we can readily access the tools does not mean that we are necessarily putting them to good use. To gain some insight into this we interviewed Brian Clifton, author, consultant and trainer, who specializes in performance optimization using Google Analytics.

A Digital Marketer's Toolkit

Three Reasons to Fear Content Marketing

Carla Johnson (@carlajohnson): There’s a lot of chatter about content marketing these days. And rightfully so. It doesn’t matter if you’re the shop around the corner or a Fortune 100 company, done thoughtfully, consistently and responsively, content marketing builds loyalty, leads and revenues.

It’s not a trend that will come and go by next year. Which leads to three reasons why companies need to sit up, take notice and have enough sense to be afraid of it.

Content Strategy: Keep Pretending Conversions Don't Matter

Ahava Leibtag (@ahaval): Did you know you are bombarded by 5,000 messages a day? And that it takes seven to nine interactions with a brand before you even begin to recognize it? Because of this overwhelming onslaught, are you only seeking recommendations from those within your social networks?

Don't Learn Social Media on the Fly

Scott K. Wilder (@skwilder): Social media, when properly managed, can be a direct line to customers, opening a dialogue where customers' wants, needs, praise and complaints can be heard and responded to. Then why do so few companies provide their staff with the training to successfully participate on social networks?

CRM: Customer Acquisition is Nice, But Retention is Key to ROI

Chris Bucholtz (@bucholtz): Why do you buy customer relationship management (CRM) software? In most cases it’s because you have an issue in the sales department that’s screaming for attention. Forecasting may be going awry, lead data may be loose and impossible to locate, or your sales team is no longer able to discover best practices in selling.

That’s all important stuff — but it may not be the best reason to adopt a CRM application, especially in these economic tough times. 

The ROI of Digital Channel Shift

Rob McCarthy (@robmmccarthy): Today's businesses face the challenge of ensuring customers can access their services and products through whatever means they choose. Channel shift moves customer transactions to the most effective and efficient channel of engagement, creating satisfyingcustomer experiences while delivering savings and increasing revenue.

Web Experience: Lean Usability as a Design Model

Gerry McGovern (@gerrymcgovern): Lean usability focuses on customer needs and quickly iterates its way to success based on evidence of customer behavior.

Towards the Connected Company


The Mobile Enterprise: Still a Ways to Go

Kevin Conroy (@seattlerooster): “And the best part of my new corporate job is that I get a free iPad (or similar mobile device)!”

Like many of you, I’ve heard versions of this statement on an accelerating basis of-late. It begs the question: why are enterprises handing out mobile devices on such a regular basis to new, and oftentimes nearly all, of their employees?

Dreamforce: Closer Towards the Cloud Based Intranet? #df12

Jed Cawthorne (@jedpc): In last month's column I took a generic look at whether an organization could move its intranet to the cloud, lock stock and barrel. As ever, my conclusion was "maybe" as it very much depends on your organization and what exactly you want to do. While at Dreamforce, I had the opportunity to return to this question.


SharePoint Retirements, Introductions 

The Death of SharePoint Designer?

Jennifer Mason (@jennifermason): For many of us who eagerly await the release of the latest and greatest from Microsoft we were shocked and awed when we discovered that this release removed one of the primary tools for Business Users from the product. SharePoint Designer, as we had come to know it, had been drastically changed. 

Video Blog: SharePoint Taxonomy Management: When it's Time to Retire Tags 

Mike Doane (@mikedoane): Building a taxonomy in SharePoint 2010 can be a fantastic way to improve content findability and enhance search results using tags from a controlled vocabulary. However, even the best tags can sometimes go awry, and have to be removed from use. But wait! Don't delete those out of date terms from your Term Store taxonomy. Deprecate them instead. Here's how. 

What's New in Project Management in SharePoint and Project Server 2013

Chris Wright (@scribbleagency): The recent beta of SharePoint 2013 brought with it a new version of its sister product: Project Server 2013. Project Server is built on top of SharePoint, and is designed to extend the capabilities of Microsoft Project for large scale enterprise project management. 


SharePoint Administration: Understanding PowerShell

Christian Buckley (@buckleyplanet): On September 8th, I found myself on the road again, far from my home in the Seattle area, participating as a speaker at the annual SharePoint Saturday Cape Town (#SPSCPT) event in South Africa.


That's it for this week and our Data into Marketing Action focus. Be sure to check in next week when we discuss the evolution of the Social Enterprise.  

Title image courtesy of Malchev (Shutterstock)