Mike Moran

By Mike Moran

How Can CMOs Be Ready for Big Data?

How Can CMOs Be Ready for Big Data? 150 150 Mike Moran

Many will tell you that we are already in the age of Big Data, and maybe we are. But the truth is that whatever pile of data we have today will look puny in just a few short years. Big Data keeps getting bigger, so whether you think we have already arrived or Big Data is around the corner, how can CMOs be ready for what comes next?

It’s not that complicated, actually. The most important step any CMO can take is to move to a data-driven decision-making process. What that means is no more “golden gut.” What that means is that we don’t ask the CMO what to do–we ask the data what to do. It doesn’t matter whether the data we have now is big or medium-sized. The truth is that most companies do a crappy job with small data.

How would your job be different if every time someone asked you to decide something, you asked what the data shows? And if there is no data, you asked how we could get some? And if no one knows how to get the data, you ask what kind of experiment can we run to get the data?

For some CMOs, that’s very threatening. They believe that their job, like any good executive, is to make the tough decisions. And that’s true. But what if the toughest decision you will ever have to make is to give up your own personal control and seek the data to make the decisions?

Data-driven decision-making is a culture change. It says that instead of believing in our own opinions, that we will focus on our customers’ opinions. When we focus on data that tells us what our customers want, it’s amazing what geniuses we become.

It feels like data-driven marketing is a loss of control. But what we need to accept is that depending on our own opinions is the most out of control we can be. Each decision that we make personal might feel under control, but competing against companies that decide based on data will quickly make us extremely uncomfortable–because they are making better decisions than we are. And in just a few years, we won’t be making decisions based on data–we will be providing rules for computers to make decisions based on data. We’ll do that because people can’t decide fast enough.

Have you reconsidered your reliance on data for decisions? Moving to data-driven processes prepares you for the onslaught of data that is coming for all of us.