Big Data to Big Profits: What’s Your Billboard Worth?

Big Data and Analytics, Innovation

Big Data to Big Profits: What’s Your Billboard Worth?

22 Nov , 2014  

What’s your billboard worth?

How do you measure the value of data? Usually it’s a matter of determining how much the data is worth to the business – how it translates into revenue, ROI, cost savings and other quantifiable benefits to the enterprise. But you can also measure how much others value your data.

Let’s say I own a billboard, and I want to know how much that billboard is worth. To do that, I need to know how many people drive past the billboard every day. I could estimate it, or I could pay someone to stand there and count the cars as they drive past. But those methods are limited in scope and very expensive.

It strikes me that in today’s digital and mobile society, the data that I need to value my billboard already exists in someone else’s hands – the mobile network operator covering that area, for example. In theory, if not in practice, the network knows the names and demographics of everyone who comes within viewing range of the cell tower next to my billboard.

The network operator isn’t setting out to collect this information; it’s simply monitoring its network in order to deliver coverage. But it also has an opportunity to create value from that data by inverting it to conduct what we call in the economics world “asset surveillance.” The mobile network operator now has information relevant to my asset and that information can be used by prospective advertisers and prospective buyers to place a value on my billboard. Yet, I did not grant them authority to do so. The ubiquitous nature of mobile computing and the public nature of billboards make this unauthorized asset surveillance possible.

The operator could choose to sell that information to the billboard owner, or it could use that information to create a billboard company of its own. Either way, the data has the potential to earn great value for the owner of that data as well as to the party that owns the asset or buys the insights. This interesting dynamics in which a digital operator comes into possession of asset information is at work with Zillow on the prices of homes, Google on the value of web domains, and will surely occur in many other businesses.

Organizations in any industry can work with analytics experts to understand how to invert or repurpose data solve new problems and create new opportunities. The real question is, “What’s your billboard and what it is worth?”

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By  -      
Russell Walker helps companies develop strategies to manage Risk and harness value through Analytics and Big Data. As Clinical Professor at the Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University, Russell Walker has developed and taught leading executive programs on Big Data and Analytics, Strategic Data-Driven Marketing, Enterprise Risk, Operational Risk, and Global Leadership. He founded and teaches the popular Analytical Consulting Lab and Risk Lab, experiential classes, which bring Kellogg MBAs together with real-world projects in Analytics and risk evaluation. His is the author of the book From Big Data to Big Profits: Success with Data and Analytics (Oxford University Press, 2015) which examines data monetization strategies and the development of data-centric business models in the new digital economy. He is also the author of the award-winning text Winning with Risk Management (World Scientific Publishing, 2013), which examines the principles and practice of risk management as a competitive advantage. Dr. Walker consults with firms on the topics of Big Data and Analytics, Risk Management, and International Business Strategy. Russell Walker can be reached at: @RussWalker1492

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