It doesn’t matter how much you think you know about big data or how many blog posts you read on the importance of big data if you can’t can’t make it work for your organization it is just data.  2014 is presenting itself as the year for marketers to focus on the measurable results within these big data sets and there are a few things every marketer should know.

So what I want to focus on today is everything a marketer needs to know about big data to leverage it successfully. You see, there are a lot of tools on the market that are preaching the greatness of big data without making it simple and effective. I know it’s only early in the Big Data space but too many businesses are getting sold on fairy dust instead of real results.

Here are three things every marketer worth their weight in dollars should know:

Big Data Should Lead To Insight
One of the simplest and basic value propositions that big data should offer a marketer is insight. Whether that’s insight into the way a customer interacts with their product or how their existing customers think – big data should lead to an insight.

In marketing, our communications strategies, plans and advertising campaigns tend to come from insights. It’s the insights into our consumers and target audiences that allow us to tell stories that captivate their imagination or capture their attention. It’s insights into understanding the different media outlets they read online, their buying behaviour and who influences their decisions that impact everything related to marketing.

Big data is a great tool for brand marketers who are looking to use real insight instead of guessing games. The development of a strong persona and comparing that individual to a series of data will continue to offer marketers a great opportunity to build stronger relationships with their customers and ultimately tell a more effective story. It’s through the  insights that marketers will have at their finger tips that give them the intelligence to make smarter decisions when buying media and writing ads.

Big Data Should Lead To Action
No matter what, a good percentage of your Facebook fans, Twitter followers, ad viewers and blog readers will never buy from you. For this reason, you need to be passionate about ensuring that the efforts that you put forward in your marketing do in fact drive results. In a world where almost everything can be measured, it’s more important than ever for marketers to hold themselves accountable to their decisions and choices.

The best marketers make decisions with data. Whether that’s the decision to change your messaging or to increase your spend, big data should never be captured for the sake of capturing it. It’s important to identify what the series of excel documents mean to your business and what actions can come from them.

If you’re paying for data that is not leading to action, you’re wasting your money. The best marketers either make the decisions on their own based on calculated assumptions and conclusions or bring in an expert to study the data and help guide them towards a meaningful hypothesis. It’s not enough to collect big data like a series of baseball cards. We need to collect big data with the intent of hitting a home run.

Big Data Could Someday Save Your Business
As we look forward to the future of Big Data, it’s promising. Big Data has an opportunity to go beyond marketing and touch aspects of the business that you haven’t even considered. Big Data could help human resources better understand when their employees are least productive or more likely to take sick days. Big data will help accounting better understand how their sales cycle works and what forces are influencing it. Big data will ultimately change the way that business is done as a whole.

It’s going to change the way we sell. It’s going to change the way we buy. It’s going to change the entire brand and customer experience. At least, that’s what we’re banking on. We see the future for big data as a tool for businesses to make smarter decisions and drive real results using social media.

What do you see?