ORLANDO, FL: Brands should find the "so what" behind big data if they want to maximise the impact of these numbers on their business, a leading executive from ADT has argued.

Jerri DeVard, svp/chief marketing officer ADT – a firm specialising in security and home automation – discussed this topic at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2015 Masters of Marketing Conference.

"I do think that data is really overrated," she said. (For more, read Warc's exclusive report: ADT finds the "So what?" behind big data.)

"I sit in meetings all the time where people come and present data. And I sit back and I say, 'So what? So what does that mean?'"

Answering this question relies on far more than charts and spreadsheets that simply show where the current trend lines are pointing.

"It's not the data; it's the insights. So, as marketers, we have to make numbers talk; we have to add that up," said DeVard.

"So many times, we use data, we stop at the door, we present it and say, 'OK, there's the data'. But we don't say what it means and, more importantly, what we're going to do about the data."

And DeVard suggested that ADT – which can draw on data from a range of media channels spanning from DRTV to online advertising and call centres – has a raft of data at its disposal.

"We've got so much data. We have so many data reports that the data reports are now named after people," she said.

"For us, the decisions that we're making are of the moment … The speed of decision is as good as the quality of the data and the information and the insights that you're getting."

Such information, for example, can help in formulating impactful creative. "I don't know how you can develop creative without data, without insights," said DeVard.

"Where does the idea come from? Maybe there are people that are geniuses that say, 'I have a great idea; we should execute it'. But the creativity has to sail from the insights."

Data sourced from Warc