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Why Smart Data Is So Much More Important Than Big Data

by Scott Fasser  |  
February 3, 2015

I'm officially sick of the term "Big Data." Marketers have access to lots of data—got it. However, Big Data in and of itself doesn't sell more products or services, or make high-value prospects aware of your brand. Big Data is merely the pool in which we swim to target and generate results. Smart data is the spear gun—this is where we need to focus.

As direct response marketers, we think of data in terms of insight to make better decisions that drive to an action.

Smart data breaks into the following categories:

1. Creative optimization

Every creative concept comes from an insight from customer research and/or campaign data. We build a creative approach—based on some form of insight around what a particular target audience is doing, thinking, feeling, responding to, not responding to or is concerned about—to elicit a response.

We start many of our creative exercises with the search for a "wow, I can't believe that" type number. For example, when working with one brand targeted to children, inspiration came after we learned that 97% of kids play video games regularly, but only 33% of kids get regular exercise. A body at rest tends to stay at rest, but a body in motion tends to stay in motion. The brand needed to inspire kids to turn off the games, get up, and get going.

The stats that inspired this brand's communication have nothing to do with Big Data—just smart data.

2. Campaign optimization

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Scott Fasser is director of Digital Innovation for HackerAgency, a global digital/direct agency based in Seattle.

LinkedIn: Scott Fasser 

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  • by Dan Cropsey Tue Feb 3, 2015 via web

    Well said Scott...couldn't agree more

  • by Cheryl Tue Feb 3, 2015 via web

    Thanks for reframing the discussion--great points!

  • by Dominique Levin Fri Feb 6, 2015 via web

    Scott, great article. I assume your key point is that if you collect data for data sake, it's useless. You have to act on the data, either automatically or through human intervention. However, as long as you have an automated system in place to analyze the data, cut through the noise, and prescribe the right action - such as by automatically sending a highly personalized preventative touch campaign to a customer at risk through your email system - then the "amount" (how big) your data is doesn't really matter. In fact, in that case, just having data on some customers, instead of all, would not make sense.

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