With so many channels and such varied ways of customer communication and content distribution, Big Data is just as scary as ever. But it shouldn’t be.

It’s time to stop seeing data as scary, and realize it’s just a function of quantity: Marketers have always analyzed data to enhance their strategies, it just so happens that there’s more of it coming at us all at once.

Of course there are countless options for harnessing, dissecting, and storing all of your company’s data. And nowadays, with the cloud, some of these solutions are becoming downright affordable. However, truly getting a grip on your brand’s data and finding ways to use it as a viable marketing tool goes beyond just a software solution.

Here are three tips for more effectively and efficiently managing your data:

  1. Focus on what matters. If you were to analyze every quantifiable statistic about your organization’s interaction with the outer world, you’d never accomplish anything. The real secret to conquering Big Data is to focus on areas that impact your business directly, and ignore the rest.
  1. Realize it’s more than just numbers. At the end of the day, remember that Big Data is just that: data. In reality, a well-rounded marketing strategy looks beyond the numbers to incorporate shopper personalities and buying habits. You need to know who your people are and what really drives them — not just how many widgets were sold or likes were received last month. Taking time to understand the context in which shoppers interact with your brand will allow you to develop strategies and mailing lists more personalized and relevant than numbers alone could ever achieve.
  1. Divide and conquer. Big Data isn’t all that big when you split the seemingly overwhelming task of analysis between experts. Instead of placing the weight of data collection on your IT team’s shoulders, spread the responsibility between departments and trusted vendors.

The last suggestion is especially valuable: When you farm out certain responsibilities, you’re not just sharing the workload on the front end, but on the back end as well.

Catalog mailings are a great example. Instead of delving into in-depth list reporting and mail list data on your own, it’s much more time- and resource-savvy to leave it to the experts. You want to work with a printer, like The Dingley Press, that has the technology and capability to take list vetting to the next level — so you don’t have to.

With some focus, a few personal touches, and prudent partnerships, it turns out that Big Data may not be so big after all.