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Big data doesn't know me

By EMMA COAKES Published 21st Mar 2014
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We're being told that 'Big Data' is the next marketing goldmine. Those of us who aren't in a position to access Big Data might be a bit worried about this. This is where big companies have the advantage; they have the data and they have the technology to exploit it. Small businesses will, presumably, be pushed out of the market by their lack of data.

One of the oldest rules of data is GIGO. Garbage In, Garbage Out. If the data you're relying on isn't that good then, unfortunately, the conclusion of the data isn't going to be that good either. If this is the result when big companies deploy Big Data then they will end up annoying clients rather than drawing them in.

Twitter has access to a huge amount of data and it used to have a feature that showed users who were similar to you. I was always struck by how dissimilar they were. Now it will suggest who you should follow and this is increasingly made up of people who have paid to have their message amplified. So, money trumps big data. Further down the list it suggests some people who have similar keywords to mine in their profile, which isn't very sophisticated, and a local trade organisation that I have no interest in joining. There's also a solicitor, so I'm wondering what I have done wrong or, more worrying still, whether Big Data predicts I'm about to need a solicitor.

I wonder whether Facebook knows me any better? Today, apparently, I might want to buy some flowers for the garden and I also need deodorant and some washing powder. Am I smelling bad? There's also a 'Tree Festival' that I should attend because some bands that I haven't heard of are playing. What is a 'Tree Festival' and do they offer glamping? Big data doesn't know me there either.

This will create a huge opportunity for smaller businesses who use customer care instead of short cuts. There is no substitution for knowing your customers. This means that you really know them, not some sort of computer generated data profile. I'm a customer, that's what I want and you won't find the real me by analysing any amount of my data.

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229 weeks ago, by James
Facebook seems to be all about sponsored ads, money rather than targeted data. Today it's selling me hosting from the supplier I already use, a USA road trip and a computer game (I don't game).
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