Hadoop is the latest tool and technique in the never-ending quest to mine the best and most subtle information from the astonishing amount of data a digitally-based economy and society generate daily. Stripped to its essentials, it puts dozens (or hundreds) of computers on finite tasks of data mining (and, occasionally, data visualization) simultaneously. This parallel processing can be used with both traditional, structured databases and with unstructured data as well. Because of its power, data can not only be manipulated faster but in new and previously impractical or unimagined ways.
Okay, so it’s obvious how this can be enormously useful for market research. But what in the world is hadoop marketing?
Well, looked at from the perspective of the ever-increasing number of marketing subspecialties, one could argue that where before we had a few marketing generalists trying to understand the marketplace and customer behavior, now we have dozens of subspecialties simultaneously trying to mine and manipulate their own, finite, parts of how customers operate, make buying decisions, and exchange information. It is a parallel processing approach to the buying universe.
On the surface, this would seem to be an intelligent way to get a handle on an increasingly complex and continually evolving universe of behavior.
But is it?
When you do hadoop data mining, the aim is to uncover hidden insights which, united with other more traditionally acquired information, give us a more three dimensional view.
But hadoop marketing tends to overlook the whole and focus only on separate and distinct data strings, be they social media or mobile marketing, or, or, or… Rather than creating a richer, fuller view of the marketplace reality and activity, it creates a series of ever-more linear and one dimensional pictures. It never re-integrates the analyses into a coherent whole.
This is a serious problem for business.
No one gets up in the morning and says to himself, “I think I’ll define myself through social media today – or through my mobile or via my customer feedback.” Okay, that’s an exaggeration, to be sure. But if you focus on increasingly narrow data strings (i.e., marketing sub-specialties), then that is, in fact, the assumption you are making about the marketplace. And, unfortunately for the companies and marketers who do this, it is not only a distorted view of marketplace and customer reality, it is doomed to failure. Customers and prospects just don’t see themselves that way.
Marketing is not a distributed processing profession. It is an integrative exercise. If the customer sees himself as a rounded individual, with many facets and motivations and perspectives, any marketing function that does not aim to see him that way is a waste of time, energy, and resources.
Hadoop research? Absolutely. Hadoop marketing? Not if you want to thrive.