Marketing in the World of Big Data

Arvind Sathi’s book Engaging Customers Using Big Data has a number of interesting points about big data. For example, he is keen to point out that marketers now drive many technological needs in firms. “The chief marketing officer (CMO) has now earned his/her right to be the next big customer or boss for the CIO, as enormous IT investments get diverted from other business groups to the CMO organization” (Sathi, 2014, page 161).

Despite the focus on Big Data I liked the fact that Sathi notes important general marketing points. “The buying and selling of big-ticket items is a tricky business. The pricing is more variable because of supply-demand imbalances and the lack of a perfect market” (Sathi, 2014, page 97). The good news is that when buying a house you might get a great bargain. The bad news is that you can’t rely on any quoted price to be anywhere near the ballpark of reasonable. When you buy a house don’t rely on the pithy notion that there is no such thing as a free lunch. There are lots of free lunches, although you might be the one paying for other people’s lunches.

As an academic I often relish the chance to read managerial books. They are generally much more fun than academic papers. I criticize academics for the way they write but occasionally I see the benefits of academic writing. Sathi lays out three propositions. They are generally reasonable — e.g., marketing is moving from using samples to observing populations — but I would have liked the writing to be more focused on the propositions. The writing wanders around with lots of interesting details but I found myself getting a bit lost how it all fit together.

My favourite bit wasn’t really about business it was Sathi complaining: “… “Angry Bird”[sic] and other games were productivity killers among executives.” (Sathi, 2014, page 98). Kids, or more precisely IBM executives, today.

Read: Arvind Sathi (2014) Engaging Customers Using Big Data: How Marketing Analytics are Transforming Business, Palgrave Macmillan