The most useful definition of ‘Big Data’ that has been offered by computer science is that data sets classify as big when human analysts need to hand over to machine learning software in order to properly discern patterns in the information. Machine learning is a form of artificial intelligence in which software is written to apply an analytical methodology in an iterative manner such that it learns from its mistakes and gets better and better.
Any good pilot knows that computers are much better at doing almost all of the heavy lifting when a large passenger jet flies across continents. But no pilot steps into the cockpit of an A380 without years of training and hundreds of hours of experience. A similar logic applies in digital marketing. TMI introduced machine learning, or programmatic technology e.g. the DoubleClick Suite, to its campaign management before the technology became mainstream in digital marketing. However, this integration was predicated on the years of accumulated institutional experience that TMI had amassed via its staff manually applying and refining the techniques that would now be supervised by highly sophisticated, 24 hour-a-day software.
This repository of human intellectual capital remains a non-negotiable precursor to the deployment of any technology we use. Our integrated approach to technology sees us acutely aware that the live fluctuations of ad auctions and exchanges can make a mockery of even very learned machines. TMI gives primacy, when necessary, to human intuition and intelligence in the management of its campaigns. This hybrid approach ensures that exogenous shocks do not unduly skew the information referenced by the automation tools we use to mine the huge datasets at the heart of this industry.