Big Data and Power to the People.

This post first appeared on the Digital Marketing 2.0 Blog

Depending on your industry, “Big Data” means something different. In the world of counter-intelligence, Big Data means collecting and analyzing data on “the bad guys,” local governments use Big Data to analyze and collect information that tracks everything from traffic patterns to pothole locations. For business, Big Data is about everything from inventory control, to tracking customer’ s habits and delivering predictive marketing.

Big Data is powerful stuff. Stop for a minute and think about how much we were in the dark about customer behavior, patterns and geographic clustering before the world of Big Data. Large amounts of structured, and unstructured data—driven by database, visualization and analyzing software has changed the way we see the world, and set strategic plans.

For everyone involved in Big Data is about tapping into the predictive power of numbers. But what we must not forget is what is behind the numbers—people. Whether terrorists, suburban commuters or potential customers, all of the information we gather, analyze and use to develop and implement plans and programs represent flesh and blood human beings. And whatever plan or program we develop it impacts people—not data.

The reason I bring this up is the tendency in many companies to disassociate data from the people it represents, and to think more about “growing the numbers” and ROI, rather than thinking about how people will be impacted (and respond) to our actions, based on their data.

I challenge you to spend a week calling your “customers,” “leads,” “prospects,” and “consumers” by a more simple, human term—“people.” You might be amazed at how it changes your perspective of “data.”

So I say, whenever using Big Data, think about the Power of People. They give you the power to create predictions, and impact your business, so make sure you don’t forget to treat them well—and like the humans they are.

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