Think of an experience in which you were either just getting ready to ask a good question or make a well researched point and the person before you steals your thunder and says the same thing. Now imagine it wasn’t one person, but four consecutive individuals, each of whom was more famous and well known than you. Welcome to my experience at IMA 2012 this past week in Vegas!
When I was asked to speak at IMA 2012 on the topic of Big Data and its impact on marketers earlier this summer, I assumed the audience would be moderately informed on the topic, at best. I would be co-presenting with Matt Langie (@MattLangie), head of Digital Product Marketing from Adobe, in a late breakout session toward the tail end of the conference. The conference was headlined by some heavy hitters that were speaking on a variety of pertinent topics relevant to the typical ‘internet marketer’. My session, Big Data = Big Problems? = Big Opportunities? was designed to educate individuals on ways the explosion of data available to marketers presents both opportunities and challenges to today’s professional.
Settling into the keynote sessions Friday morning, I listened in horror as Adobe, Oracle, LinkedIn, Microsoft and Adobe (again) talked to the crowd about … Big Data. By the time the main stage sessions had ended and the breakout had begun, nearly every point I had planned to make was made by ‘people much more famous than me’. Luckily enough, I had about three hours before my session to regroup and create plan B!
What emerged as an open issue from the big speeches was how a company could actually realistically and cost effectively implement a Big Data initiative when they didn’t have access to unlimited money and resources. At Knowledge Marketing, we have been able to develop a robust, SaaS-based Audience Management System that can help businesses consolidate their numerous databases into a single consensus system and begin leveraging that data to make more informed marketing decisions. Big Data is ushering in the new age of digital marketing, where marketers can leverage massive amounts of information to predict buyer behavior and interest, in return presenting relevant and timely offers that yield optimum results.
So for my session, my strategy was to bring the conversation ‘down a level’ into the world of the everyday marketer and present concrete examples of steps they could take today using Big Data to improve their results. We have a defined five step implementation and delivery process that our new clients leverage to get the results they need in a timely manner with manageable costs. Luckily, my change in presentation strategy worked and the feedback was great! We were right that many people feel overwhelmed by such a big topic, and while they recognize the value of the available information, they don’t know where to start.
Overall, the situation turned out better than expected as it helped refine the message, better educate the audience and reinforce our own value proposition into the marketplace. Now if all goes well, what happened in Vegas, won’t stay in Vegas!