The buzz around the term “Big Data” is almost deafening and is now on course to be as overused as the glorious, all-encompassing “Cloud”. That being said, the hype and buzz around Big Data and its impact on the marketing world is certainly not without serious merit.

As with most new buzz terms, the definition of Big Data depends upon who you ask. Some define Big Data using quantifiable terms such as achieving a certain data size limit. Others use relative terms, classifying Big Data as when an organization’s data becomes too big, moves too fast or becomes too complex to manage or interpret through conventional means.

From a marketing perspective, I like to think of Big Data in more transformational terms. To me, Big Data is when an organization shifts from managing and observing “data transactions” to also managing and observing “data interactions”. Today, organizations have a vast array of channels (email, direct mail, social media, search, mobile, web, etc.) and communication devices (tablets, smart phones, computers, etc.) to reach their customers and prospects which all have the ability to generate a massive amount of rich data. Advancements in processing power, data storage and analytics now allow organizations to gain meaningful insight into behavioral patterns by collecting and connecting the plethora of data dots that now exist on their prospects. Should even more data be needed, organizations can leverage countless third-party API’s that provide near realtime access to remote data append services.

Organizations today are still in the very early stages of the Big Data marketing transformational process, and in my opinion, we are about to witness the largest marketing technology boom we have ever seen. In fact, we are already seeing a 40% annual increase in marketing technology spend and most analysts agree that this won’t end anytime soon (Analysts such as Gartner are projecting that by 2017 the CMO will spend more on technology than the CIO). One explanation for all the excitement is that Big Data investments are easily justifiable for CMO’s. No longer will a CMO struggle to justify requests for budgetary increases because the data available to them will finally bring clarity to the fuzzy lens that CFOs and CEOs once had to look through when deciphering such requests. The formula is simple: Bigger, Richer Data Sets + Real Time Analytics + Personalized Multi-Channel Marketing = Higher ROI.

A key ingredient needed for organizations to achieve this Big Data vision and acquire interaction data is a Multi-Channel Distributed Marketing Platform that provides centralized control over campaign content, personalization options, campaign execution/distribution and automated response triggers. Organizations that rely on a distributed sales and marketing methodology by supporting quasi-independent agents or localized marketing teams make this ingredient even more essential as the “data interactions” are even more scattered and harder to capture. Leveraging a centralized multi-channel distributed marketing platform, organizations can drastically improve efficiencies, optimize marketing distribution channels, ensure brand/regulatory compliance and get simplified access to a “larger aggregated data set” that can be used to analyze and predict behavioral trends. Organizations without such a platform will struggle to collect the data points necessary to achieve the holy grail of Big Data marketing and quickly be at a competitive disadvantage.

About the author:
Tim Storer is the President & CEO of Distribion, Inc., a leading provider of web-based multi-channel marketing automation software that optimizes marketing distribution while maintaining brand and regulatory compliance for large enterprises. To learn more about Distribion’s Distributed Marketing Platform visit