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Marketing is now Math

This is the approach many marketers are taking with the advent of Big Data. With so much data available, the emphasis in marketing activities is shifting to number crunching. The brilliant new marketer who can transform the image of a product is now the one who can make sense of the data available to her about customer behaviour.

While mining of Big Data can provide wonderful insights, they provide just that, insights. The mined data will only enhance available information. The hard work of incorporating this information into product feature decisions, pricing decisions, distribution channel decisions, etc still remains to be done. No amount of number crunching will throw up these answers. If you make the mistake of thinking they will, you're ruling out the possibility of any innovation.

With numbers come metrics. With metrics come hard targets (hard targets are different from hard-to-achieve targets). And when the focus is on meeting these hard targets (like gather 2000 new customers from Mumbai area who have previously disliked a competitor's service in a month), there is little room for innovation.

Marketing efforts are not just responsible for boosting sales and brand image, they are equally responsible for boosting innovation. It is easy to be engulfed by the promise Big Data beholds. But it is essential to not get sucked into a world of metrics and hard targets. Innovation is paramount.

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