How to Stay Relevant in the Era of Big Data

The Era of Big Data isn’t new. However, if you want to remain relevant in your job, it’s crucial keep track of what’s changing and make sense of it.

The omnipresence of cell phones, apps, and platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter has given rise to what is called the era of Big Data – the huge volume of information available about both individual and aggregate behavior that can be sliced seven ways to Sunday. The data is a goldmine for advertisers and marketers, and it’s revolutionized how business is run by changing what we learn about, and sell to, consumers.

Big Data enables laser-like targeting of the right consumer on the right platform at the right time. The targeting is as broad as seeing new suggestions based on your previous behavior when you log on to Amazon or Netflix – or as specific as how supermarket chain Kroger used digital insights and variable printing to produce direct mailers that resulted in a 70% response.

Big Data as a force in marketing and advertising isn’t new. However, as our connectedness grows, data is transforming our business at an almost exponential rate. That means that if you want to remain relevant in your job, it’s crucial keep track of what’s changing and make sense of it.

Big Data and Your Job

Account Service

Account service is still primarily a high-touch art form, but in an age when we can get almost instantaneous feedback on advertising and marketing performance, good account executives are seizing opportunities to build the client relationship and drive more business for the agency.

Reading recommendations
Forrester is an online publication (and real-world research company) that can put all these ideas into perspective, allowing AEs to confidently champion new solutions to their customers.
– The Harvard Business Review has news and in-depth analysis about how marketers are using Big Data to create value for their customers.


Creatives might be historically suspect about the role of data in the creative process, but they can also benefit from staying abreast of the newest technologies. As marketing becomes more immersive and personal, it’s psychology, not technology, that will help connect with customers.

Reading recommendations
– The Kissmetrics blog always has provocative articles on making deeper connections with customers.
A. V. Sudhir has interesting thoughts on how data can enhance, rather than replace, creativity; he isn’t a creative but a sociologist who writes about how oceans of data are reshaping society.


For media professionals, Big Data means good news, bad news, then more good news. The good news is that you can target at almost a granular level. The bad news is that there are more vehicles than ever – but there’s also more reliable reporting and metrics to help you evaluate your options.

Reading recommendations
– If you’re not already, you should be checking sites like Nielsen, the media section of McKinsey, and Facebook for Business, which will tell you not just about new media on the horizon but how people are using it.


Producers have their work cut out for them with all of the emerging technologies. To add more value to agencies and their clients, they’ll need to keep up-to-date on the newest marketing vehicles and processes (for example, the increasing call for 6-second ads).

Reading recommendations
– No matter what industry you’re in, there’s a lot you can learn from what’s happening in the retail sector, as it’s undergoing huge transformations and embracing exciting technology. Digital Signage Today covers the most influential trends.
– With coverage of new consumer technology, digital best practices, and industry news, Marketing Land is another must-read.


In the strategy department, Big Data has enabled needle-in-a-haystack specific insights into consumer behaviors. Media continues to shift towards digital, which enables the collection of real-time performance metrics that enable you to evaluate your options.

Reading recommendations
– Though he doesn’t have much of a social media presence, former AIG Chief Science Officer Murli Buluswar writes brilliantly on mining data for uncommon insights.

The future: It’s technical.

All signs point to our reliance on Big Data only getting stronger, with 91% of advertisers either already having a data management platform in place or adopting on in the next year. As more companies implement AI-based systems to help crunch all of those numbers, it’s the people who understand what the data means and how to use it who won’t need to worry about being replaced by a machine.

Lisa is a Creative Circle candidate and seasoned advertising copywriter who lives in Los Angeles. Her background includes both in-house and agency work on Fortune 500 and global accounts in the consumer and healthcare/pharmaceutical fields. She excels at words, fashion, and cats. If you want to work with Lisa, contact Creative Circle Los Angeles.


    MARY GEORGE says:

    Great article, very timely. Question: As a creative professional, which software applications / certifications would be most valuable in terms of producing concise visible information out of big data sources? Who is doing the best work in this area? Any recommended books & articles?

    Thanks so much!
    Mary G.

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