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Big data and Marketing...who leads who?

I have just read this article on 1to1 Media on Big Data, its huge implications for marketing and how we are short of talents ("McKinsey estimates that by 2018 this deficiency in deep analytical talent will rise to between 140,000 and 190,000 open positions in the United States") to make proper sense of all those data to help marketers make better decisions in a world that is more and more complex.

Some of the professionals interviewed or mentioned in the article indicated appropriately that Marketing Analytics is NOT and can NOT be an IT function. Some others indicated that the recruitment of those talents should be focused on data analysts who have proven their ability to make customer-centric decisions and/or who have experience in business/marketing decisions.

From my stand point, this is only one side of the equation...and actually maybe the wrong side. Let me explain.

Data analysis is here to help people make better decisions.

To do that, one needs to understand data analysis as well as the marketing decisions in question.

As such, a data analyst has to have some knowledge and experience in the type of decisions that a marketer needs to make and...a marketer needs to have some practical knowledge of data analysis to be able to communicate and interact properly and understandably with the data analysist.

In fact, between the 2, the biggest gap is with the Marketers for their knowledge of data analysis and that should be the focus on the gap closing effort. The fact is that those marketers know the decisions that they have to make....They just do not always know to ask properly the right question, to get to the proper help them find make those decisions.

Furthermore, it is only by democratizing the access to data and the practical understanding of data analysis, that the real power of marketing analytics will be unleached. This assessment is renforced by the emergence of online graphical marketing analytics interfaces that everyone and anyone can access.

As such, the key focus should be to educate Business Managers and Marketers (starting in College) to integrate "practical" math and data analysis into their skills set. That way, we will have no shortage.


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