Data Collection

Big Data and the Mobile Future

By | Big Data, Blog, Data Collection | No Comments

There is no doubt we’re living in the middle of a mobile revolution. Even from where we were five years ago, the mobile landscape has changed dramatically. Businesses and people are on the go with the world in their pockets. This poses some challenges for big data, but also many benefits.

The Challenges

No longer is data collection tied to people at their desks. We’re looking at an organic world where information is being spread and collected everywhere we go. This poses a challenge to the big data market. As information becomes more prominent by design, the tools in which data is analyzed and collected is going to have to rapidly keep up.

This may require businesses and consulting firms to be more specific when they look at implementing big data into their strategy. Having a goal up front can help narrow down the data sets you’ll find useful. For example if you’re only interested in optimizing an app you developed, location data may not be as important.

This data may become even more useful when it is combined with outside sources, such as economic or transportation information, for example. This can allow businesses to move between macro and micro level trends to specifically target individuals.

It’s clear that going mobile isn’t just a trend. It’s the future. Data companies are going to have to keep up with the influx of information as exponentially more devices come to the market. How that demand is met can be solved in a number of ways, but it’s going to take a combined effort of analytic software, computers, and a larger big data workforce to get there.

The Benefits

Even though big data faces challenges when it comes to analyzing the influx of information, the benefits that mobile platforms can receive from big data is enormous. Everything from app development to mobile web optimization can be sharpened and honed by looking at these data sets.

One of the greatest benefits data can provide to the mobile platform is advertising. By compiling location data, advertisers can promote targeted ads or posts based on someone’s location. This can inform them about a nearby store or service that they may find of interest. This line of advertising can open up a whole new strategy for businesses.

Data collection isn’t just limited to apps and background processes. Mobile devices are very interactive, and companies can take advantage of this. Posting a QR code on a flier or in your store window can drive even more data. Encouraging users to take photos and share them by using hashtags can also provide valuable information about your demographic.

Even though big data faces some major challenges ahead when it comes to the mobile world, the benefits it can provide are just as numerous. It’s an exciting evolution in the data driven market, and it’s important for businesses to understand how they can benefit from it moving forward.

Venture Development Center is a full service data consulting firm. If you’re interested in making big data work for your business, feel free to leave a comment or contact us, and we’ll be glad to help.

Using Digital Data to Retrofit Traditional Customer Acquisition Programs

By | Actionable Data, Big Data, Big Data Strategies, Customer Acquisition Programs, Data Asset, Data Collection, Data Integration, Data Management, Variety, Velocity, Volume | No Comments

Your company continually develops and executes customer acquisition programs to identify prospects that are in your “sweet spot.”  You have your regular lists that you employ to get a lift in your campaigns, but they seem to yield fewer leads as time goes on.  What would happen if you tapped the power of consumers’ voices?  What if you could identify and reach that “sweet spot?”  You can, and the information you need is waiting for you in the social web.

The Dynamic Power of Consumer Voices

Millions of conversations are constantly taking place in the social media sphere, many of which are referencing your products.  These conversations are an ever-changing dataset that point directly to your new prospects.  Imagine the possibilities of gaining up-to-the-minute prospects, real consumers eager to know more about your products.  Instead of using the same old go-to lists, find new prospects by listening to what they’re saying online.

Tapping into the Potential of Actionable Data

The information you’ll find in the social media sphere encompasses the “3 V’s of Big Data,” important characteristics that enable digital data to better inform your marketing and lead generation efforts:

  • Volume – Big Data boasts a depth of data beyond what traditional data sources can offer, offering companies significantly more valuable insights.
  • Velocity – The rate of change in Big Data is greater, given the dynamic nature of the Web, thus offering companies a look at consumer interests in real-time.
  • Variety – Big Data comes in many different formats, including video, web logs, geo-location information, all of which bring a depth unknown to traditional sources.

Harnessing consumers’ voices heard within the realm of Big Data will transform your customer acquisition programs.  By leveraging those Big Data sources that are most likely to have insights on the customers who are, or might be, interested in your products and services, enables you to better identify new prospects and understand their needs.  Analyzing the real-time consumer intent expressed online about your products and services will then allow you to convert more of those identified prospects to customers.  In addition to enhancing your ability to better identify and attract prospects within segments you’ve already identified, Big Data allows you to realize the potential of customers in previously unexplored segments.  In order to compete in the modern business world, companies need to retrofit their traditional customer acquisition programs with the enhanced analytic capabilities Big Data offers.

How Can Online Search Activity Be Taken “Off-Line?”

By | Big Data, Big Data Strategies, Data Collection, Data Management, Innovation, OffLine Search, Search Web, Uncategorized | No Comments

You’ve worked to ensure that your company is actively involved in online marketing and search engine optimization practices. You’ve made sure your keyword activity is engaging and effectively driving opportunities and interest to your retail channels (whether distribution partners or your own company website).  You’ve seemingly exhausted the benefits your search activity can yield – but have you really?

What other insights can your general search activity offer?  Can those insights be extracted and married to public-record data for use in off-line marketing activities?  The short answer is:  yes.

The New Taxonomy for the Off-Line Marketer

With billions of records created weekly as a result of routine search activity being conducted online, the resulting data elements have immeasurable value if extracted and parsed into a meaningful taxonomy that can be leveraged for online insights and off-line targeting.

Consider having the ability to define markets that should have increased spending (or, convrsely,  reduced spending) based on an ongoing feed of digital data that provides specifics about search activity.

Now, factor in the ability to take that detail and make it actionable for off-line marketing activities.  Recalibrating your marketing processes to take in new attributes, considerations, or market comparisons is not only fundamental but necessary, and you now have a strategic digital data platform to add to your existing marketing mix.

No Longer a Concept

This is a capability in place and ready for your company to use now.  The availability of a taxonomy of segmented search information offers unique and insightful detail for trending analysis, by market and by search criteria.  It is ready to assist you with real-time decision making.

The compilation of this information will let the power of online search detail provide you with an enhanced method of target marketing by:

  • defining specific criteria for accurate and meaningful analysis
  • defining particular markets for comparison, evaluation and funding plans
  • Go off-line with this targeted digital data by matching at the ZIP-4™ level


Understanding the New Skills Needed to Exploit Big Data Potential

By | Big Data, Big Data Strategies, Data Collection, Data Integration, Data Management, Innovation, Profit | No Comments

McKinsey & Company estimates that the US faces a huge shortage of people who have the skills to understand and make decisions based on the analysis and modeling of Big Data*.

Plus, in today’s environment, companies are using less than one-tenth of one percent of the data they could be using.  This is primarily due to a lack of understanding about how to approach the monumental volume of data being generated every day.

Structured databases are fading away as the standard means to house business data, and storage is now a commodity, so that untold amounts of data can be retained for trending and analysis.  Further, with the advent of more and different data formats, including video files, web logs, and social networking, new capabilities in staff and skills are required to exploit Big Data’s potential.

New thinking is now required of your staff so your organization can move beyond structured / linear data fields to a more conceptual approach to database marketing.  As more data is created, newer ways to capture, process, and cultivate it to work for your businesses will be required.  That thinking requires a holistic view of how to cultivate the richness to be derived from social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

New thinking will also be demanded of your staff regarding modeling / analytics.  In the legacy approach to data modeling, numerous tests on subsets of variables were run iteratively until a model emerged.  The processing power and storage capacity available today has the potential to reduce the cost of building models by a factor of 10 and, at the same time, improve the predictive power of the model.  All of this can be accomplished through the application of Big Data.

In order to optimize the full value of Big Data, you’ll need to ensure your staff has the skills required to collect, analyze and apply the new insights to your organization’s specific strategy.  Big Data sources require new thinking in how to evaluate new insights for the benefit of your business’ success.  In addition, the availability of new data formats requires new methods for processing and implementing the information.  However, when approached successfully, the new data environment allows for improved modeling and reduced cost, greatly contributing to your organization’s success.

*Big Data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity.

McKinsey Global Institute May 2011

VDC Blog - Skills

Collecting and Managing Digital Data Efficiently and Effectively

By | Big Data, Big Data Strategies, Data Collection, Data Integration, Data Management | No Comments

You’re faced with a growing challenge:  your organization has started to obtain sets of digital data to use within your traditional marketing programs, but your current customer data is housed in legacy systems, with some sets of data silo’ed and unavailable for integration.  How do you marry the current data sets with digital data to benefit from the power of both?

Align and integrate the data.

Now more than ever, companies are confronted with the integration of big data streams into their current repositories.  No longer are the structured databases of old the best approach to extracting the value that digital data has to offer.  New systems are available that can act as listening posts, gathering unstructured data from the Web and identifying insights on a whole host of business topics of importance to your company.  These systems, which act as a data hub of sorts, can collect and transform this unstructured data into structured datasets ready for use into existing sales/marketing processes.

Improve decision-making through the use of digital data.

Implementing a digital data hub collection process yields a number of benefits that contribute to a company’s competitive edge in the modern business environment.  Such a process will:

  • Be responsive to many different types of data, including varying formats and structures
  • Allow companies to evaluate data before making large investments in time, personnel, and funding
  • Respond swiftly to new inputs and requirements
  • Evaluate new data sources
  • Facilitate discovery of interplay between different data sources

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The structured datasets derived from a digital data hub collection process can be used to vastly improve decision-making in a number of key business areas.  Armed with a host of new knowledge, companies can:

  • Improve account preference identification
  • Transform unstructured data seamlessly into meaningful marketing insights
  • Leverage and realize the value of in-house sources with digital data


In the modern business landscape, it’s important for organizations to carve out clear identities and prove to clients and customers their superiority among competitors.  Efficiently collecting and managing the immense data at your fingertips gives your organization that competitive edge.