The seemingly endless attention on big data is understandable.
The unprecedented amount of customer information available today makes it possible to measure nearly everything with finer granularity across media channels. The CIO is typically accountable for effectively gathering and storing that data, while the CMO determines how to leverage it in the marketing organization.
However, one major gap exists: a C-level executive who understands what should be measured, why it’s important to be measured, and how having that information will impact the business. The model designed to manage big data must be built around what will drive the business, and the “chief measurement officer” is the person who should have that understanding.
Solving data scale in and of itself makes sense only when you are able to do new and better things with the data. Technology on its own does not deliver the full power of the opportunity, nor does more sophisticated analytics of the data guarantee a performance lift. “Big measurement” fills the gap between the technology of big data and proving its business impact for marketers.
Big measurement is about challenging organizations to look at not just how to tame data, but how to apply it in ways that make a positive impact on the company’s key performance indicators. Having a chief measurement officer focus on what to measure, rather than how to store data, provides the organization with a framework that can deliver an effective ROI on big data investments.
This “other CMO” assures value by understanding which data has the ability to provide the most critical and actionable information about the relationship between the advertiser and the customer. The chief measurement officer should be accountable for effectively organizing big data and capitalizing on technology to measure, inform, innovate, and make better decisions.
John Harrobin, VP of marketing communications and customer relationship management at Verizon, said it well: “It’s not just about seeing the world with new eyes, but about using tools and technologies to measure things we were never able to measure. . .We can then make connections between people and things. As marketers, that’s what we’re paid to do.”
This year’s double-digit measured-media growth of digital display advertising provides valuable insight into both the need and the potential offered by big measurement. This growth demonstrates that marketers are now putting more money into disciplines that directly connect them with targeted customers. With that investment comes the need for actionable customer data and a growing requirement for effective measurement across all media.
Measurement is too important to leave with any particular group as a secondary focus. Without a chief measurement officer there is no one to challenge the organization to understand how the data should be organized to facilitate access to the most powerful variables in the right sequence.
It is one thing to know something, but quite another to do something with what you know. Big data and big measurement together create an opportunity to make what is learned actionable and in real-time. An enterprise that considers jumping on the big data bandwagon without a clear big measurement strategy faces a high risk of failing to provide a strong ROI. Technology must be strongly allied to data science to produce a marketing outcome that is performance and price performance positive.
To assure that return on big data investments, the chief measurement officer must:
- Serve as a referee in helping the CIO and CMO make strategic data decisions.
- Understand variances and how to leverage those insights.
- Define the metrics that provide the calculations regarding results associated with Big Data.
- Quantify transaction-based and audience-based analytics.
- Be responsible for vendor management and auditing.
- Determine the requirements associated with data retention and aggregation.
- Be the bridge across technical, analytics, and business groups.
It’s not surprising there has been growing attention paid to the new level of cooperation required between the chief information officer and the chief marketing officer. Collecting data and making it available where marketing can leverage it is an important part of the big data story. However, without a chief measurement officer, there is no one to challenge the organization to understand how the data should be organized to facilitate access to the most powerful variables in the right sequence.
Big measurement and the chief measurement officer responsible for it are critical to maximizing the opportunity provided by big data. Without them, the enterprise is left with ambiguous and partial data insights that ultimately restrict the investments that should be made and limit the returns that should be realized.