One of my favorite classic episodes of The Twilight Zone™ from 1962 is “To Serve Man” aliens come to earth with a book. The aliens do all kinds of nice things and everyone starts to assume they are here to help us. It doesn’t take long to decipher the book’s title ‘To Serve Man’, and while scientists are trying to decipher the rest of it, earthlings are lining up to visit their planet. Turns out man can be a pretty appetizing dish when prepared correctly, the book COOK BOOK!
The concept of ‘serving man’ has become an integral part of every new technology, discovery and even, or maybe especially. the alien Big Data!
All this data is supposed to serve us, so we can better serve our clients. Digging through the ‘cookbook’ to get to what you want to ‘make’/accomplish can be a herculean task. And some days it feels like all that data and the ways you are supposed to use it may just eat you up! Googling ‘how much data is created/produced each day? provides volumes of information (HA!) including the projection that by 2020 about 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for every human being on the planet. More importantly of all that data IDC research indicates that 90% of the data produced is unstructured! That means there is a good chance that at least some portion of what you are looking for is simply floating around out there in no organized (read useful) fashion! Feeling overwhelmed, I know I do!
To help you and me too, start 2018 with a clearer focus on using and processing some of that data, I’ve worked through lots of the suggestions, input and articles out there to come up with The First Three Steps to Use Big Data to Serve Man that can help your organization and your clients. Accomplishing these three steps will provide the base you need to make sure the data you are using is the RIGHT data for you. Obviously, there is much more to the process so keep your eyes open for the next article in this series.
1. Focus – start by finding your focus, what do you want the data to do? Is your goal to bring in new clients? That’s an excellent way for data to work for your organization. The importance of defining your focus can’t be overemphasized. Without knowing what you want the data to provide in terms of information you can find yourself buried under the ever-growing morass of data, frustrated and just trying to breathe!
2. Refine – once you’ve determined your focus, you’ll want to refine it, so you don’t waste time digging through irrelevant data (of which there will be an enormous amount). Think about the idea above of bringing in new clients, what does that mean to your organization? Knowing exactly who your target prospects are and how those potential clients can most benefit by your services will help you find them. And hopefully at the same time eliminate the uninterested or non-target population.
3. Ask the Questions – the questions your [target] audience (prospects and clients) are really asking are what you should be answering. This can be a little trickier that it sounds, defining your target audience greatly narrows the data you will be considering. But it is by determining the questions your audience is asking that you’ll be putting that data to use. There are many ways to discover what your potential clients need and want to know, certainly the most direct is by asking your current clients what problem your product or service solved for them. Make sure you differentiate between what you ‘think’ they are asking and what they truly need. Remember your target audience has a problem to solve and your product/service is likely the solution they are looking for so, you must make sure they can find it and you!
With these three steps completed you are well on your way to determining the data that will help you grow your organization and ‘Serve Man’. In the next few articles we’ll look at the path data takes in its analytic journey, so you can use it to predict what’s coming.
As always, thanks for reading and please share any input, ask questions or make suggestions they are always welcome!
About the Author Leslie Riehm is the Vice President Corporate Communications at Digital Donations, Inc. Connect with Leslie and Digital Donations on Linked-In and follow us both on Twitter.
Here at Digital Donations we believe in connecting cause and commerce through innovative big data strategies and that’s exactly what we can do for your business. Give us a call at 888-705-2220, email us or visit our website to see how we can help you get a handle on big data!