With only a few exceptions, the bulk of brands’ efforts to date in leveraging ‘big’ digital data lied in online reputation management. To do so, many brands started building impressive social media command centers able to detect and react to consumers’ online conversations in real time. Another increasingly popular practice entails executing massive retargeting campaigns that build on customers’ recent browsing history aiming to increase purchases. Both approaches reflect ‘big data myopia’ —a tendency to understand and leverage big data such as social media mostly in the short-term, for tactical, non strategic reasons. Slowly, ‘big data myopia’ transforms brands into, in the best-case scenario, effective bill posters (when they succeed in attracting their customers), and in the worst-case scenario (i.e. when their messages are displaced or when they irritate customers), spammers.
Big data myopia often stems from lacking an understanding of what ‘big data is’: a buzzword for the acceleration of the collection and processing capabilities of different types of data as a result of growing digital connectedness. Beyond technical, descriptive concepts such as data volume, variety, and velocity, brands strategists have lacked a clear typology of the digital data that they can leverage to produce significant and decisive competitive insights. In what follows, we introduce a new typology of digital data and delineate how they link to the customer journey and offer a new platform for how brand strategies should think about and act on these data. Specifically,
The 3S typology -isolating the types of big data that lead to better decisions
There are, in fact, three main types of different data that are both massive and easily accessible to CMOs: Social, Search and Site footprints.
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