Data scientists, data architects, database managers and analytics managers. If you work in marketing and have one of these sorts of people on your staff then now is the time to start listening to what they have to say and maybe giving them a pay rise.

Here at Yomego, we recently held a roundtable debate on the future of social engagement. One thing was particular clear, with all participants in agreement: the biggest issue facing the social industry right now is what on earth we do with our mountains of data.

Data volumes have been increasing steadily since the first days of the internet. As people moved more of their lives, transactions and interactions online, they left a steadily increasing stream of information behind them about how they behaved.

The brands that did well applied direct thinking to understanding these online interactions. But direct thinking could only get you so far when volumes went through the roof – unless you had a hell of a lot of data firepower and some very clever brains to tell you what to do with it.

Social media has compounded the issue: we now have gigaoodles (technical term) of data being generated every day – and an advertising and marketing sector that has valued, and recruited, those staff that can think creatively and strategically over those that can think mathematically and statistically.

It’s understandable – and we will always need these creative people. But what has changed is that we need to redress the balance.

The biggest issue of all is how we can break down the silos. We might have people that understand Facebook data and social interactions; some that understand email marketing and some that have a handle on CMR and purchase data.

But the next big steps will come when we can begin to fit these together and understand how they interact and affect each other.

But to do that, you need people that can take the data, build huge databases and then, crucially, fit these mountains of data together. And for that, you need a big pool of clever data experts. Anyone know any good data lifeguards?