BIG DATA makes the world go round

You’ve heard of the 5C’s and 4P’s but have you heard of the 4V’s ? Volume, Velocity, Variety and Veracity! Marketing research has excelled to a whole new level and it reached this new high with the help of consumer information. Consumer information is all around us and even the most unsuspecting consumer contributes to it every day!


(Source: Rymond 2014)

Consumer habits mean BIG Data

 Volume, Velocity, Variety, and Veracity are all characterise of Big Data that provide for very future in market research. Some fast facts below explain how our everyday online habits and retail transactions contribute to the Big Data phenomenon:

  • Every day consumers make around 11.5 million payments by using Paypal
  • Every hour, Walmart (chain of discount department stores) handles more than 1 million customer transactions
  • 510 comments, 293000 status and 136000 updates are posted on Facebook every minute
  • Every second, ~7000 tweets are made on Twitter

The sheer volume of the data that is collected through the use of everyday applications that have become a normal part of life for millions of people which means there are endless possibilities for the evolution of market research.

So what? We have always had data

In today’s digital world we have the capability to collect data with even greater ease, then process the data to target the right audience in a meaningful and captivating way via multiple channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. As McAfee, A. & Brynjolfsson, E. (2012) citied, executives can measure and therefore manage more precisely than ever before. It is now possible to make even better predictions and smarter decisions about the needs, wants and aspirations of every day consumers from a phenomenally broad range of backgrounds from across the globe. Marketers can target more effective interventions in areas that so far have been dominated by market research and intuition rather than by market research and the tangible possibilities of accurate BIG data straight from the target audience

All eyes are on the 4Vs

Although no one can estimate the growth of Big Data increases, volumes will without a doubt increase year on year. Take for example IoT (Internet of things), it is believed we will be living in the world along with 50 billion interconnected devices within the next 5-10 years, Williamson, J. (2015). Think of current integrated technologies, your laptop, smartphone, TV, car, home and security systems.

Marketers can build digital footprints of insightful information and draw on a variety of new data types such as geospatial and location information. This may translate to what you did, where you did it and when you did it. What this translates to is tailored content to appeal to consumers that have been exclusively gleaned through various data-mining activities as described by Couldry, N. & Turow, J. (2014).

The frequency (velocity) of data generated is advantageous to marketers. Think about Facebook status updates or credit card swipes being sent over your telecommunications provider every minute of every day. Daily habit and shopper trends can model marketing strategies.

BUT this data is only as good as it is accurate and trusted for business decision making. The veracity of data depends heavily on such tasks as data mapping to drive insightful trends and habits of consumers.

In combing all 4V’s we can create value. Some would argue value to be a 5th V. Imagine the opportunities for cross-selling, cost cutting, new product lines.

All hail social media applications

At the forefront of the digital age and Big Data collection and marketing channel, we have online social media applications such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. These big players are massive contributors of data-driven marketing. Without these types of social media applications, BIG Data would simply not be as readily available. They collect a vast array of information but are also marketing channels for hundreds of thousands of businesses worldwide. Companies have leveraged off their CPM (cost per thousand advertising impressions) offerings to not only market products and services but gain statistics on effectiveness and success rates to better drive strategic marketing decisions.

In Q1 of 2016 CPMs were up 71 percent year-over-year on Facebook. This tells us it’s a reflection of the marketing strategies companies have undertaken and their keenness in online marketing. Not only have companies increased their investment with CPM providers but they have scaled horizontally. For companies who have gone multichannel in their marketing strategy have experienced an average of threefold increase in ROI when moving from a single channel to multichannel campaigns. This means more feedback data for companies to drive company initiatives and decision making.

Today’s Big Data ecosystems have found its feet and has had a major impact on traditional cost inefficient marketing research practices such as collecting qualitative information via such means as case studies via focus groups. The era of clustering target audiences by demographic stereotypes and bombarding them with irrelevant ads is over. Companies are already making their interactions with customers personal drawing of Big Data marketing strategies.

Abstract Stock Market Charts. Zip includes CDR, AI and high-res JPEG files.Map source: Software used: CorelDRAW X6 Date created: 14.10.2012 Layers of data used: Outlines

(Source: Jitterbit, Image by Jitterbit)

Big Data is going to get HUGE

With or without recognising it we are contributing new voluntary information to large company’s data stores in online social media applications, retail credit card purchases, browsing the internet via multiple different devices. A questionable ethical debate for the general public? Some companies have already disclosed data policies to their customers. With this fast growing trend, Big Data is going to get HUGE! How this will be legislated in the future will be a very interesting to see play out – watch this space!


(Source: Tisuchi, Image by Tisuchi)


Ayush (2015). How to collect big data? [Online] Big Data Science Training. Available at: [Accessed 12 August 2016]

Couldry, N. & Turow, J. (2014). “Advertising, Big Data, and the Clearance of the Public Realm: Marketers’ New Approaches to the Content Subsidy”. International Journal of Communication. 8: 1710–1726.

Leochner, T. (2013). Twice As Many Brands Have Gone Multichannel In 2013. [Online] Media Post. [Accessed 12 August 2016]

McAfee, A. & Brynjolfsson, E. (2012). Big Data: The management revolution. Harvard Business Review

Rymond, T (2014). 4Vs of Big Data [Online] WordPress. Available at: [Accessed 12 August 2016]

Vamosi, R. (2015). Collecting Big Data From IoT [Online] Forbes. Available at: [Accessed 12 August 2016]

Williamson, J. (2015). “Getting a Big Data Job for Dummies. For Dummies. Indianapolis, IN


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