Are you tak­ing advan­tage of the incred­i­ble tech­nolo­gies and vast data now avail­able to mar­keters? Or are you treat­ing your iPhone like a Dis­c­man? Let me explain.

Remem­ber your old Dis­c­man? It was tech­ni­cally “portable,” but try walk­ing or jog­ging with it and the CD would skip repeat­edly. As the tech­nol­ogy pro­gressed, you could buy play­ers with 3-second, 40-second, and finally 180-second anti-skip pro­tec­tion. That was a break­through fea­ture back in the day—I could go run­ning and enjoy steady tunes on my Discman.

Fast-forward to the advent of portable MP3 play­ers. Sud­denly, the most advanced Dis­c­man looks like a dinosaur, and anti-skip tech­nol­ogy has been ren­dered totally irrel­e­vant. Then smart­phones come along, pack­ing a cel­lu­lar data net­work, SMS mes­sag­ing, wire­less Inter­net, video, gam­ing, end­less apps, and music into one light­weight device.

So what if I was walk­ing around with my iPhone held gin­gerly out in front of me, or I only lis­tened to it when it rested on flat ser­vices? What if I only used it to hold music and never made calls, or skipped through songs one-by-one with­out look­ing at the touch screen? You’d think I was cer­ti­fi­ably insane.

Yet that’s exactly how many peo­ple treat Big Data: they’re apply­ing the old, irrel­e­vant Dis­c­man rules to the robust capa­bil­i­ties of an iPhone. They don’t under­stand how rad­i­cally dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing tech­nol­ogy has changed, so tremen­dous opti­miza­tion poten­tial is going to waste.

Get Per­sonal with Adobe Mar­ket­ing Cloud

Dig­i­tal mar­keters know they should be using their data to per­son­al­ize. Mon­e­tate com­bined research from For­rester, IBM, MIT, and Colum­bia and then ana­lyzed it for mar­keters’ views on per­son­al­iza­tion. They shared the results in a reveal­ing info-graphic, titled “From Big Data to Big Per­son­al­iza­tion.”

Almost all mar­keters (94 per­cent) believe online per­son­al­iza­tion is “crit­i­cal,” but only a frac­tion (26 per­cent) are tar­get­ing vis­i­tors in real time. Nearly 40 per­cent said they can’t lever­age their data, and 95 per­cent of data within orga­ni­za­tions “remains untapped.”

What these stark sta­tis­tics are say­ing is that we have the data, but we aren’t min­ing it. We have great ideas and vision but aren’t tak­ing action. Believe it or not, the tools we need already exist. It’s up to us to real­ize their power and full potential.

To extend the metaphor, the Dis­c­man is like a hit-counter—an out­dated plug-in that only tells you one piece of data. The iPhone is like an entire mar­ket­ing cloud, where data is eas­ily accessed, tech­nolo­gies are as com­plex as our vis­i­tors, and every­thing is inte­grated. The mar­ket­ing cloud is designed to help even inex­pe­ri­enced users avoid mak­ing erro­neous assump­tions about their cus­tomers based on overly sim­plis­tic data.

Big Data + Com­plex Tools = Per­son­al­ized Simplicity

Adobe Mar­ket­ing Cloud can seem com­pli­cated and over­whelm­ing. But when used prop­erly, it actu­ally leads to greater sim­plic­ity and effi­ciency. It can also greatly enhance per­son­al­iza­tion, mak­ing the Web feel smaller and less over­whelm­ing for your visitors.

Sim­plic­ity and per­son­al­iza­tion work together to meet your vis­i­tors’ requests before they ask. In dig­i­tal, the def­i­n­i­tion of sim­plic­ity is get­ting to the good stuff as quickly and eas­ily as pos­si­ble. Busy, advertising-inundated con­sumers grav­i­tate to low-friction sites. And a respon­sive vis­i­tor expe­ri­ence can be bet­ter at dri­ving con­ver­sion than price or prod­uct comparisons.

Sim­plic­ity and per­son­al­iza­tion are the two great, untapped fea­tures of Big Data. The top con­ver­sion rate opti­miz­ers (CROs) are con­tin­u­ally striv­ing to greater sim­plic­ity and greater per­son­al­iza­tion to grease the wheels of con­ver­sion month after month.

In my next post, I’ll intro­duce three ways you can use the tools and data already at your dis­posal (i.e., Adobe Mar­ket­ing Cloud) to enhance per­son­al­iza­tion and sim­plify the user experience.

In the mean­time, ask your­self one ques­tion: What would I do dif­fer­ently if I sud­denly real­ized the Dis­c­man in my hand was actu­ally an iPhone?