The Evolution of Data

The Evolution of Data

The Evolution of Data

“Big Data” is a technology buzzword that comes up quite often. Most investors understand that it describes the current ecosystem in which there is exponentially more data, and that the wealth of information can be processed to create insights for companies. However, the evolution of how we got here is a little more fuzzy.

As the above infographic notes, it all started with ZIP codes. Born in 1963, ZIP codes allowed companies and marketers to gather more information on customers in a way that was not possible before. Then by combining computers with transactional data, businesses were able to learn more about the nature of each transaction. Who and where was something bought? What did they buy?

Then it was all about profiling the customer, so that it was possible to find more customers and grow a company. It started with demographics and then moved to psychographics (or “lifestyle data”). This allowed marketers to come up with a profile for their ideal customers, and how they think.

The most recent development in this type of data is in attitudes and behaviours – and this is where Big Data comes in. By analyzing everyone’s Google searches, Facebook posts, emails, tweets, and more, we now have more complex profiles on every consumer. This has led to massive databases, which need complex and fast analysis to provide any sort of useful insight.

The evolution of data is not ending anytime soon. The next data tsunami will come from information stemming from the internet of things (IoT) that will provide even more data points and need for sophisticated analysis.

Original graphic from: ALC


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