Big Data Not Guarantee to Big Success

Big data was traditionally defined in terms of the three V’s—volume, velocity and variety.  However, according to an article recently completed by Forbes, the three V’s are no longer sufficient in terms of harnessing big data to find the path to success.  A conception has formed that big data automatically guarantees better preparation to solve all marketing problems.  However, if it isn’t interpreted and applied correctly, big data will simply lead to further confusion on the part of the corporation’s leaders.

To resolve this issue, the author of the article has developed an updated definition for ‘big data’—a journey through the gap in the data that is available to them and the business insights that can be driven from the data.  In essence, the data cannot do all of the talking—business and technology leaders must use the space in between to interpret the figures and adapt a plan to win, serve and retain customers.

The author worked with a colleague to complete research on the best means to navigating this gap.  First and foremost, no matter what the industry, it is not free of the burden of big data; every company can benefit from collecting figures, even agricultural pursuits.  Nothing is free of risk, including big data; many issues have arisen over the years as a result of big data collection, including breaches in privacy and resulting issues of financial liberties from misused data.  However, the author still feels that, no matter the risks, the benefits of collecting data overcome any challenge that could potentially result.

Finally, technology managers, who are typically in charge of collecting data needed to draw these conclusions, cannot be forced through this process on their own.  Business leaders must carry their weight as well, to open the lines of communication, detail their business challenges so both partners can work together to find the best possible solution for all parties from the provided data.


from Steve Kaplan, The Entrepreneur

McDonalds changes up marketing strategies in wake of decline

The McDonald’s Corporation is pushing a new marketing strategy aimed to highlight their freshly

cooked breakfasts as completion grows amongst other fast food chains. The battle has reached a boiling

point recently when Yum Brands Inc.’s Taco Bell starting serving breakfast last month starting with

the Waffle Taco, a move that has prompted rival fast food joints to add new items or even discount

breakfast items.

The Chief Executive Don Thompson of McDonalds has stated that they have yet to see any bearing

from Taco Bell’s new morning menu, but that the amplified race “forces us to focus even more on being

aggressive in breakfast.”

Mr. Thompson’s statements were issued after McDonald’s released a report of profits dropping for

during the first three months of 2014-5.2% from the same time one year ago. U.S. restaurant profits

open over a year have overall dropped 1.7% for the quarter and 0.6% for the month of March, making

that five months in a row for the company. Globally, sales have risen 0.5% during this quarter as well as


Mr. Thompson admitted that the corporation has lost some importance with consumers and menu

change is warranted to strengthen business. Thompson stressed that McDonald’s is committed to

steadying crucial markets like the United States, Germany, Australia, and Japan. Thompson pointed out

that in the fast food race, McDonalds has always come out on top in 35 years of business and “we don’t

plan on giving that up.”

McDonald’s has plans to run upcoming adverts informing customers that it actually cooks breakfast

unlike the many in competition. “We crack fresh eggs, grill sausage and bacon,” the CEO stated. “This is

not a microwave deal.”

Besides revamping breakfast, the fast food giant has plans to further marketing on their staple

menu items like the Big Mac and their french fries. Those two products alone make up for over 40% of

McDonald’s sales. In an effort to further serve customers faster, the company is adding measures for

staff to be more efficient such as additional prep tables for customizing specific orders.

The corporation also has intentions of selling more company-owned stores outside of the states to

foreign franchises. 81% of McDonald’s over-seas stores are franchised. Royalties from the franchised

locations provide for an unwavering income for the corporation.

McDonald’s dropped from $1.26 a share to $1.21 a share in one year. The corporation accredits this to

a decrease in income-tax benefits last year.

from Steve Kaplan, The Entrepreneur

Taco Bell on the McProwl with New Marketing Campaign

A series of commercials issued by Taco Bell attacks the outdated status of McDonald’s marketing attempts and menu items.  Advertising Age recently completed an article to summarize the two commercials issued thus far from the Tex-Mex fast food restaurant.  The first ad was a somewhat subtle jab, as it depicted a man named Ronald McDonald eating one of the new breakfast items supplied by Taco Bell.  The man was, of course, simply a Ronald McDonald, not the Ronald McDonald; however, the message was quite clear—even Ronald is intrigued by the fact that Taco Bell has started serving breakfast.

The second ad issued is far less subtle in its intended message.  The main man of the commercial is depicted in full 1980’s stylings—a Miami Vice outfit, complete with a white blazer, pushed up sleeves, pastel shirt and a mullet.  As he eats a McMuffin, the man sings to the tune of “Old MacDonald,” with these altered lyrics:  “I’ve been eating Egg McMuffins since 1984.  But when I saw Taco Bell made a waffle Taco, I figured I would get with the times.”

Chris Brandt, Taco Bell’s Chief Marketing Officer, clarified the intentions of the strategy behind these ads.  Brandt felt that McDonalds has had the market on fast food breakfast items for years.  He wanted ads that implanted the idea that Taco Bell is the “next generation,” of breakfast items.  Due to the strong following that enjoys McDonalds’ breakfast items, and has done so for many years, he knew the ad campaign needed to be abrupt and disruptive to catch the public’s attention.

Brandt is confident this system will only increase the already positive breakfast sales Taco Bell is experiencing.  While Brandt declined providing statistics and figures, he did acknowledge that the endeavor has been successful enough to dedicate the chain to actively working towards expanding their breakfast menu.

from Steve Kaplan, The Entrepreneur

How to Handle 3 Types of Conversation Hogs

There are certain people who need to have their egos stroked constantly. If you have ever found yourself stuck in a conversation at a party with one of these people, you can relate to how horrible conversing with them is..

Despite this torture, these people can be tolerated.  Here are 3 types of difficult people to talk to and how to best handle them:

1. The braggart. The braggart is all about money, and likes to talk about their wealth in an ostentatious way.

If you know the humble-brag, you have an idea of the braggarts main weapon of choice. “The insurance premiums on my yacht are killing me, I might only be able to get myself the 30 footer instead of the 40 footer”, he might say. If you find yourself speaking to a braggart, acknowledge his good fortune and try to steer the conversation to something else.

2. The rumor-monger. The rumor-monger intentionally puts themselves into the center of attention by gossiping about others.  If you find yourself talking to a rumor-monger, change the subject or better yet, get away from them.  Never ever tell them anything confidential under any circumstances, unless you want the news spread around.

3. The one-upper.  The one-upper is the first congratulate you on your accomplishments but telling him he’ll get to your level soon. Oh you just went on a ski trip to Aspen, my family went their when our kids were beginners, it’s a great small town slope if you can’t handle a real mountain.”

The one-upper has to feel like they matter – ask them questions.  Grit and bear it.

Now that you know how to handle some difficult conversationalists, you are ready for your next party!

from Steve Kaplan, The Entrepreneur