Can We Really Trust Big Data?

Big Data became a very hot topic in recent years. Many business, especially online business, need big data to analyze their target customers’ needs and behaviors.

But does that mean if we have big data, we can know everything about our customers?

Before we use big data, let’s get to know more about it. An infographic explains the pros and cons of big data (from: http://visual.ly/5-advantages-and-disadvantages-big-data).

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From the infographic, we can see compared to big data, the way you use to analyze big data is more important. Wrong analysis methods will conduct incorrect results and mislead companies make unsuitable marketing strategies.

One big concern of big data is customer privacy. For customers, they worry about companies collecting their information and using big data for other intensions. On the company side, there are also some limitations companies are facing when they use big data. The below bar chart shows the main limitations (from: https://www.slideshare.net/larrymarion/big-dell-data-survey-presentation-for-slideshare).

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Even though companies face some limitations when using big data, there is no doubt that they are more and more likely to rely on big data to make decisions. The number of these companies are increasing crazily.

big-dell-data-survey-presentation-for-slideshare-11-1024big-dell-data-survey-presentation-for-slideshare-12-638

Here are the questions. Can we only depend on big data to do decision makings? Can we trust every bit of data we get?

The answers are NO and NO. Because the accuracy of customer journey is dubious. It’s hard to detect that under what situations, customers do the certain behaviors. Sometimes customers are affected by internal or external reasons, and take unconscious actions accidentally. These situations always happens! So the data containing costumer behaviors are far from being accurate. The inaccurate data will let companies generate incorrect insights and implement wrong marketing plans. The ad of Adobe just explains everything.

When companies design marketing plans, they like to analyze the past customers’ behaviors and then make decisions. This is reasonable, as we can predict the future by analyzing customers’ past behaviors. But it reminds me a story that my digital marketing professor Joanne Tombrakos told us: she searched Easter decors on Amazon only one time, but after that, Amazon continued recommending Easter decors to her every single time. She already bought the Easter gadgets on Amazon, so continuing seeing the recommendations of Easter decors was very awkward for her. Therefore, when we make future marketing decisions, we shouldn’t only depend on the past customers’ behaviors,  but also think about the next needs and demands of customers.

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