More Th>n chief: ‘what is big data?’

dominic-grounsell---no-capMore Th>n marketing boss Dominic Grounsell – the former head of UK marketing for Capital One – has dismissed the rise of big data as just another buzzword, conceding “I’ve got to be honest, I don’t know what it is.”
His admission would appear to fly in the face of growing evidence of big data’s influence. Last month, Forrester predicted UK firms will spend more than $100bn (£61bn) on implementing new technology this year – a rise of nearly 7% – with big data, mobile and software solutions at the top of their shopping lists.
Grounsell joined the company in November 2011, succeeding Pete Markey who had been promoted to a group role within RSA. He is also chairman of ISBA’s executive council and a member of the IPA’s client panel.
He made his remarks in a wide-ranging interview with MediaTel in which he also dubbed Facebook “the most exciting marketing channel that has come along in the last 50 years”.
Grounsell added: “[At Capital One] Facebook went from being a testing channel to our number one digital channel in a number of months and we were spending significant sums – often at broadcast-level investment because the opportunity for volume is huge.
“The opportunity to speak to customers in a broadcast way, reaching a mass audience, but in a very tailored way, so you can almost have a one on one conversation, gives me a huge amount of exciting opportunities that didn’t exist before,” he said.
Admitting that More Th>n has yet to fully embrace social media, he added: “I believe financial services and telcos are leading in the digital space because we have a wealth of data about our customers and we’re able to leverage that, to improve the targeting and effectiveness of what we put into the marketplace.”
Hoever, when question about big data, he said: “I’ve got to be honest – I don’t know what big data is! I hear a lot of talk about it but I think it’s just another buzzword.”
And in what could be seen as a concern for the finance group’s relationship with media agency Vizeum – which was only appointed in November last year – he also welcomes media owners’ desire to get closer to clients: “I’m a big advocate of having direct relationships with media owners. Those guys know their platforms better than we do and in many cases better than the media agencies do. If you give them a business problem, they often come back with much better solutions…”

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