According to Terradata’s 2013 Data Driven Marketing Survey, 71 percent of marketers intend to implement a big data analytics solution in the next two years.
We already talked about the changes brought by big data to social media marketing. But what is big data and what benefits does it bring to marketing strategies as a whole?
Big data refers to datasets massive and composite enough to give traditional data processing applications or database management tools a harder, longer processing time.
In 2001, Gartner industry analyst Doug Laney formulated the basic definition of big data through three aspects: volume, velocity and variety.
Data volume increases due to several factors, such as unstructured data streams from social media and social networks, transaction-based data kept for several years, and collection of sensor or machine-to-machine data. At one time, too much data volume presented storage issues. Even so, the drop in costs of storage led to other issues, such as finding relationships and relevance in large datasets and using analytics to form value from significant data.
Data streams occur at unparalleled velocity so handling requires proper timing. Sensors, RFIDs, and smart metering help handle inundations of data in almost real time. Quick reaction time to manage data velocity is a test for nearly all organizations.
Data today comes in various formats, such as information from line-of-business apps, numeric structured data in regular databanks, and unstructured documents, video, email, audio, and financial data. Handling, combining, and controlling various data types are still hard to deal with for several organizations.
Apart from the volume, velocity, and variety of data, business analytics software developer SAS says data flows may be highly variable with sporadic peaks. Regular, periodic, and episodic peak data loads are challenging to deal with, especially when unstructured data is also involved.
SAS adds that there is complexity involved with multiple sources of data across different platforms, and it is still a daunting task to connect, associate, filter, and convert data across various systems. It is imperative to associate and relate hierarchies, relationships, and data linkages to avoid failure.
How Marketers See Big Data
Marketing organizations see big data as the ultimate result of the new marketing scene, and born from the drive towards a digital, fully connected world.
According to SAS, the term “big data” not only talks about data, but it refers to the demands, capacities, and proficiencies related to the storage and analysis of large datasets, in support of a more timely, more accurate decision making than previous attempts.
Even so, data has been big in certain ways, from the past to the present. Consider the customer data businesses gathered two decades ago, such as direct mail responses, transaction-based POS data, coupon redemption, and then consider the customer data collected at present, such as social media interactions, click-through rates, online purchase data, mobile device usage, browsing behavior, geo-location data, and so on.
The Relevance of Big Data Marketing
Big data does not translate to improved marketing, but it has potential. Consider big data only as a basic component because the insights gained from it actually make the big difference, especially the decision making and measures taken.
Big data plus marketing management strategy allow marketing organizations to make these changes:
– Big data provides insights about and where and who the customers are, what they are looking for, and how and when they may be reached.
– Big data determines the ideal marketing expenditure across several channels, in addition to the continual optimization of marketing programs and campaigns through tests, measurements, and analyses.
– Big data finds out the most influential factors for customer loyalty and why they always return.
Big Data Marketing Challenges
The difficulties associated with the efficient use of big data may discourage marketers because of unaligned analytic systems to data, processes, and decisions.
For big data marketing, here are three of the biggest tests: the right data to gather, the right analytical tools to use, and the right way to handle the processes involved from data to insight to impact.
More is not always better. You may a have volumes of customer, process, and financial data to put up with, but you need the right data.
An increase in big data volume means a decrease in time for decision making and implementation. You need the right analytical tools to gather and scrutinize data, and aptly distribute significant insights and assessments across the organization.
The last challenge is best presented through these questions: How to turn data into insight? How to use the insight to generate a positive impact on the marketing programs and campaigns?
Tips to Big Data Marketing Success
The big data market is valuable for marketing. In 2013, the big data market is valued at $18.1 billion. In 2017, industry analysts expect it to be around $47 billion.
Here are tips for marketers to find success in handling big data:
1. Dip into big data for richer insights.
Big data opens the opportunity to dive deep into the data and find richer insights. After initial analysis, the insights gained may be reopened to find deeper, richer insights, and it always reveals itself. The deeper level of insight creates customized marketing strategies and actions to drive development.
2. Gain and deliver big data insights to members of the organization.
Chief marketing officers, managers, staff, associates, and so on – all these people need significant insights from big data. What use are deep and rich insights if restricted only to a few members of the organization? Distribute it to people who are directly involved with its implementation.
3. Take one step at a time.
Big data is large, vast, and looks overwhelming, so focus on a handful of objectives at the outset. Afterward, determine what data you require to support the associated analysis. When it is done, move on to the next key objective.