The success of the Marvel lies not only in the extraordinary abilities of its heroes. The real hero behind the incredible super-power mogul is actually big data.

What is Big Data?

Big data refers to the large volume of structured and unstructured data that floods a business on a daily basis. What’s important, however, is not the amount of data, but how it is used. Big data can be analyzed for insights to streamlining business decisions and database marketing efforts.

Marvel’s Success

Marvel Entertainment didn’t just pop out of nowhere. In fact, the success of Marvel comic movies didn’t just happen overnight, although its comic book series already amassed counterculture fans for decades. The reality is that it took years for the comic book franchise to see mainstream success, and no one could have predicted the amazing run Marvel has had since Iron-Man hit theatres.

While big data is not solely responsible for the empire’s success, it has played a key role in diversifying its audiences and reaching millions of fans around the world. Part of the reason for their success is the creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) which branches out through movies, tv-series and video games. Fans are compelled to watch everything to keep up with their favourite characters and learn about new ones. Having crossovers between TV shows produced by the same networks also adds to the appeal of the MCU, surpassing the conventions of regular television. With all this complexity, big data comes into play when managing and organizing the influx of data that Marvel collects day-to-day.

The Marvel Database

Recognizing the need for big data early on, Marvel first started building a massive database by compiling information on their characters, i.e. their product brands. The comprehensive database also logged the characters’ relationships with each other and their story arcs to define where each character fits in the MCU. This database showed them which characters, or brands, played more important roles in the grand scheme of things. Since Tony Stark has the most connections with characters across the cinematic universe, it was no surprise that Iron Man became the first MCU film for the franchise.

The database allowed Marvel to identify popular plotlines to follow that would appeal most to the masses. But how it was vital was that big data analytics allowed Marvel to find out what fans like and dislike most about their characters. With this information, Marvel was able to formulate a successful, repeatable model for all its movies.

Using big data, Marvel was also able to formulate a winning model for its Daredevil TV-series, which quickly spawned a plethora of superhero TV shows for fans. Just as Netflix uses big data to create original content, Marvel dug deep to give their fans what they want.

Garnering unprecedented appeal

Even before Netflix, Marvel was already a force to reckon with, and this, again, is all thanks to big data. The comic-book magnate redefined the movie industry by recognizing the need to organize data that was available, and cross-reference it to data that was collectible, to streamline its product and brand offerings.