The Death of Big Data?

Big data is about to get bigger. Deliotte predicts that by the end of 2012 more than 90 percent of the Fortune 500 will likely have at least some Big Data initiatives under way.   Companies will likely spend  $1-1.5 billion to enable their organization to collect, analysis and use “big data” with the intent of gaining a better understanding their customers.   But according to Doc Searls author of the new book Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge that may be a waste of money.

Searls points out in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, that as fast as companies are configuring systems to capture data at customer touchpoints, consumers are disabling collection sites.  In May of this year, ClarityRay reported that the overall rate of ad blocking in the U.S. was 9.26%, and even higher on certain types of site and browser (download the report on ClarityRay’s website).

In May, Microsoft announced that the “Do Not Track” (DNT) feature will be turned on by default in the next version of Internet Explorer.   Add this to Dish’s ad skipping product, Hopper and you have an increasingly less assessable consumer.   What does this mean, well according to Searls it’s leading to a point where the supply side will yield influence, and ultimately power to the demand side, the consumer.

Searls book explores how customers will transact over the next 10 years, and the rise of Vendor Relationship Management (VRM), think CRM built for consumers to aggregate personal information and signal their intention to vendors on their preference, terms and desired price.  As Searls points out, sites like Priceline and Travelocity, have started this movement but they are still “siloed.”

The tipping point for the next wave is fully empowered consumer, untethered by restrictive contracts, and siloed information.  In this new world, consumers will have software that can integrate apps with the services offered by companies, saving time for consumers and creating commerce for companies in real time.

Imagine a business trip in which your phone apps for travel, budgeting, mapping, all work together to compare offers, make reservations, and filling out expense reports along the way.

What will it take to enable this revolution?   Ultimately, it comes down to the recognition that a free customer is more valuable than captive one.   Companies who will thrive will identify opportunities that take advantage of consumer’s freedom that they have, or want.  A mindshift from thinking of consumers as “targets” that live in “populations” who need to be “acquired” or “locked in.”  To an empowered individual buyer who will signal their intent to a company, as long as there is a trusted relationship.

In this personal empowerment revolution outlined by Searls, the future of buying lies not in investing in big data systems to figure out consumers, but rather by integrating apps that enable “small data” to be used by consumers.

Big changes for big data are looming on the horizon…

 

Published by

scott.gillum

Scott is the Founder of Carbon Design Co and the former head of the Washington, DC office of gyro, the largest B2B agency in the world. Prior to joining gyro, he spent a dozen years at a professional services firm that specializes in B2B sales and marketing. Scott also writes a monthly column for Media Post and has contributed to three books on B2B Sales and Marketing. Follow him on Twitter @sgillum

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