I’m a big fan of data and the geek in me enjoys the typical research we all see out there today on Big Data with respect to the 3 Vs. The graphic below shows the interaction between the 3 Vs of big data: Volume, Velocity & Variety.

But what do the 3 Vs mean from a marketer’s perspective? Unfortunately, I tend to think that for the marketer the 3 Vs present more questions and challenges for a marketer rather than provider answers or solutions.

For the marketer interested in acquiring, growing and retaining customers across channels they need to intimately understand Big Data. While the 3 Vs are helpful in describing the nature of Big Data we need to apply an entirely new set of evaluation criteria to properly value Big Data.

Real-time marketing is all about making customer experiences (i.e. communications and or content) RELEVANT, CONSISTENT and CONTEXTUAL. The utilization of Big Data should be based on wether it is Relevant, Consistent and Contextual. If it is all of those things it is highly likely to contribute to a customer lifecycle strategy across channels.

In line with a CRAWL-WALK-RUN approach, a sure fire way to begin this evaluation is to create your own data experiment. Meaning, forget VELOCITY and VOLUME and just focus on VARIETY. Do this by sampling the volume down and ignoring where and how quickly it would need to go. Design a test environment where you can simply collect and manipulate all the data in one place. Then, play theoretical games with customer experiences without regard for technology. Ask yourself the question do you have the data or not? If you think you have the data then apply the criteria of relevancy, consistency and context.

If you pass this exercise with flying colors then its time to call your IT partners! Having customer experiences thought through at this level of detail goes a long way to being able to articulate the value of Big Data and certainly will contribute to justify cost of any technology or integration solution to follow.