We’ve heard a lot about big data recently. Some say it’s the greatest thing ever; others want us to focus on so-called small data. Whatever side of the debate you’re on, you can’t ignore the need to do something with this data. The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts the volume of data will grow by 40 percent over the next seven years. That’s a lot of data to manage, analyse and ultimately integrate into your business decisions.
It’s unsurprising, then, to discover that analytics is the next big thing in marketing expertise. Today, data is used primarily to inform and analyse marketing campaigns, which is great for those of us in the agency business; however, what’s missing is meaningful analysis for our clients’ businesses to develop products and services that are relevant to their customers and, in turn, build brand loyalty. As the data we have at our disposal grows, new hires in marketing departments will increasingly need to have a technical, data or analytics background in order to deliver the strategic insights necessary for the business.
As many of us know, the UK and several other mature economies do not produce enough math graduates to ensure we can compete globally in the fields of technology and innovation, but until recently I never considered this would have any impact on the creative industries (one of the UK’s greatest assets). I was wrong. Math and engineering are of major importance to the success of the marketing sector and the UK economy. It’s critical for the creative industries to lobby the government and keep this issue on the agenda.
Another big issue is data governance and security. Businesses seem to be ill prepared for the upcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation, which is expected to impact global businesses doing business (and collecting data) anywhere in the EU. This legislation, which aims to come into force in 2014, will create a single EU data protection authority, have regulations on the movement of data, and have requirements for obtaining consent from users before collecting data and allowing the “right to be forgotten,” with significant fines based on worldwide income for breaches.
What’s clear is that not only is data here to stay, but it’s also growing. We need to do something with it, and we need to manage it responsibly while helping customers understand how sharing their data helps us to better serve their needs.
Alex Pierre-Traves is head of client services at gyro London and a candidate for Westminster City Council.
Follow Alex @aptsw1