The great big data fragmentation


Collections of focussed, specialised tools for each job instead of one big suite for all

It’s not a secret that the phrase “big data” didn’t actually bring anything new: single customer view, data mining etc. have been around for a long time. But the ability to attain, store and use that data tends to require a custom build in house or a very expensive all encompassing suite.

Subsequently it got written off for all but the larger brands who could use and value justify the cost of the big suite.

It felt like this knowledge had got lost over the generations of SME marketing managers whose predecessors had ripped the knowledge from the archives to save future generations from such disappointment.

The catchphrase “Big Data” was enough to bring these wants and dreams back to the minds and hearts of all marketers, including those who couldn’t afford it.

This time though, those people whose investigations would have thrown them into such hope of a feature set only to be broken by the price, had a much better time of it as will we all.

“Multitasking is the thief of quality”, today’s solutions are about specialist software, focussed and best of bread not the full all singing all dancing suites that may do everything but not all of it will be what you want.

The best of Big Data is a fragmented solution where you buy a solution to your problem not one solution to all problems and use what you need.

Focussed solutions like abandoned forms and baskets from software like Triggered Messaging, Light Box sign up forms from software like PadiAct, where the solution is a very narrow element but you get so much control and so many options and so much data.

Added to that, the new demands from the marketer have caused existing software providers to make more of their data available with added features to use it.

ESPs are a great example. While an ESPs will count each event that can happen to an email, the stats available are often basic. This new requirement has pushed ESPs to compete over data mining features as they have over deliverability, visual-editors and customer service over recent years.

Engagement, single customer view, automations, purchase & abandon purchase tracking and more are available from an ESP.

It may not surprise you to know that not all features are written by each ESP, some are white-labelled specialist 3rd parties. That is not a bad thing at all. No ESP has tried to write their own inbox preview software, most just API to Litmus and many even tell people about it.

The only concern is when brands get bought and solutions are bundled together as a single product but are not and feature quality is diluted as the suite grows.

A few seasoned ESPs have been bought by seasoned database & enterprise solutions firms or an ESP has bought other companies for features they want. There is a lot of confusion over what they actually offer now or what they were bought for and this will serve to open the door to the more fragmented solutions where you pick and choose dedicated best of breed solutions and expect them to work together.

Nowadays people expect the ESP to integrate more because that is the end point for the data but cloud based Single Customer view solutions are arriving to sit in between multiple databases and you ESP, keep an eye for them, they’re game changers.