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Struggling to Keep Up with Big Data? You’re Not Alone

Posted on the 15 May 2014 by Marketingtango @marketingtango
big data struggle

Struggling to Keep Up with Big Data? You’re Not Alone

If your eyes start to glaze over every time you hear about Big Data, the Wall Street Journal has a message for you: “Get used it.”

More and more companies today are paying top dollar for employees with proven quantitative skills who can make sense of data. Reports the Journal, “…analytics professionals — from entry-level data analysts to executives — earn a median base salary of $90,000 annually, rising to a median of $145,000 for managers.”

Since integrated marketing now frequently involves tactics such as Pay Per Click and email marketing, today’s executives need the ability to interpret and understand such data-driven campaigns to succeed.

Executives in a variety of industries are noticing they need to improve their quantitative skills to remain competitive. The Journal’s Nikki Waller interviewed executive recruiter Linda Burtch for insights into the growing need for analytics professionals who can understand and manipulate data.

According to Burtch, midcareer MBAs are going back to school to learn analytics programs in an effort to keep up. Such exec-students are getting involved in Kaggle competitions, in which data scientists compete against one another to solve data problems, and enrolling in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for hands-on work with data sets.

A “Quant” Foundation

How big is the need for quantitative understanding of Big Data? Burtch states, “In 15 years, if you don’t have a solid quant background, you might have a permanent pink slip. So much of decision-making in corporations is going so quickly toward having a quant foundation.

“Companies want to understand data and how it affects their bottom line. Analytics is hard. A chief marketing officer, for example, who’s come up the strategy ranks has some idea [about data] but may not know what’s possible. It’s important to get that quantitative foundation really early.”

Get Expert Help

For companies that don’t understand data well, it can be difficult to know the right questions to ask of a prospective hire.

One solution is to bring in a consultant who is an expert in the field. When Beam Inc. wanted to figure out how marketing spending impacts sales, it needed to hire an in-house person who could use the new software package it had acquired. After unsuccessfully trying to hire someone on its own, Beam had the software company handle the interviewing and screening process.

For more insights into how to give your marketing the Big Data advantage, check out some of our earlier posts, including: “Woo More Customers with Relevant Targeted Data,” and “Five Sure-Fire Big Data Sources You Need Right Now,” and “The Marketing Payback of Intentional Database Design.”


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