By Steve Touhill, Partner.

Chroniclers of twenty-first century Internet marketing technology have a habit of labeling each year after the technology du jour. Some of them don’t seem to last the entire year (Year of the Widget, anyone?) while some take the better part of a decade (I think we can all agree that mobile has finally arrived). Before anyone starts calling 2014 The Year of Big Data, though, I suggest that we think about it as the Year of Big Insight.

Marketers and their agencies are bombarded with pitches from “data-driven” LUMAScape companies, each with proprietary, black-box algorithms that purport to reach the desired consumers in a way that no other solution can. But smart marketers know that data only has value when it leads to insights that drive the business forward. Last week’s Wall Street Journal article attributing Facebook’s increased advertising revenue through the surgical application of data from Datalogix and Acxiom Corporation is a great example of the power that insights derived from intelligently applied data sets can bring to an enterprise.

It’s the same with human interaction in the business world. How many times have you sat through (or delivered) a PowerPoint presentation with slide after slide of charts, tables,\ and graphs, only to react with a “so what?” or a yawn? It is only when we are offered a fresh perspective that we sit up and take notice. Sometimes these insights challenge our beliefs about “the way things are done”, but innovation requires executive leadership with intellectual curiosity and an open mind.

Your next board meeting, sales presentation, or operating committee meeting is coming up. What insights will you offer your audience? Will they sit up, or will they yawn?