Since the 1980s, processor speeds have increased by 360 times and data storage has exploded by about 40,000. Consequently, big data shows no sign of slowing, with the International Data Corporation reporting that the global big data technology and services market grew from $3.2 billion in 2010 to $16.9 billion in 2015, and is forecast to grow to $58.9 billion by 2020. This paper explores how marketers can find meaningful insights amongst this explosion of data.


Big data: The term used to describe the huge volumes of data generated by traditional business activities and from new sources such as social media.

Data-driven marketing: Marketing insights and decisions that arise from the analysis of data about or from consumers.

Where to start

Data is the driving force behind modern marketing but the sheer volume of data means it can be complex to utilise and optimise.

Big data has brought a new level of complexity across every stage of the data lifecycle. There is now an expectation that data can and should open our eyes to behaviour that hasn't yet been identified, measured or considered. Instead of being led by measuring performance against clear accountable objectives, marketers are jumping on any financial, influential or behavioural trend that displays a correlation with marketing levers. But through this sheer volume of data available, how can marketers glean meaningful insights that will drive business growth?