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Does Big Data Require A Big Rethink?
Michael Hemsey, / MediaPost / June 18, 2013
Is it possible that marketers have gotten Big Data wrong — or applied its tenets incorrectly? Five years into its use, it’s starting to look that way. A growing number of data scientists and information analysts are pushing back, giving Big Data a definitional rethink.
And maybe marketers should too.
To date, Big Data has been defined by the “three Vs” or Volume, Variety, and Velocity. That means the amount of incoming data, source diversity and the speed it accumulates. Or, as a colleague of mine says: “Big Data is any information set beyond your organization’s ability to handle.”
If that’s true, then the key to Big Data is little details — small data that when amassed in terabyte sizes (numbers with 12 zeros), becomes “big.” So rather than worrying about storing and acting on voluminous data, brands should focus on little details that collectively can make for greater impact.
For many, Big Data’s most obvious usage might be through video surveillance and facial recognition technology. A recent 60 Minutes segment featured a look at how “faceprints” are rapidly becoming the fingerprints of the future, breaking down the visual information contained in a face and translating that data into tiny nuggets. And with a large enough data set. faces are beginning to be paired with users’ Facebook profiles, discerning shopper likes, dislike and long-term desires. But even here, it’s important to appreciate that Big Data is about accumulating highly specific “little details.”