21Big Testing Is More Important Than Big Data

Data has become the North Star of marketing and business.

There's been an enthusiastic movement toward greater data-driven decision making in marketing, bringing more analytical rigor to a discipline that historically relied on gut instincts. There is still a vital role for instincts and intuition in marketing today, but data now provides more checks and balances on our gut, countering mental biases that can lead us astray.

The digital world has generated such an exponential explosion of data that the term big data emerged to describe this phenomenon. Big data has been described by its characteristics of volume, velocity, and variety. Volume is its enormous quantity. Velocity is its accelerated rate at which new data is generated and processed. And variety is its diverse range of different kinds of data, in structured and unstructured formats, all pooled together.

Big data has been widely heralded for its potential, in conjunction with machine learning technologies, to provide predictive analytics—answering, for instance, Which of your prospects have the highest propensity to buy and the largest likely lifetime values?—and better automated personalization for many customer touchpoints. These are very exciting developments.

However, big data is still largely a seed from which bigger things must be grown.

Data by itself is inert. It sits there until somebody, or some software program, does something with it. Data can inform the actions ...

Get Hacking Marketing now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.