Leveraging Big Data for Big Marketing Success
What’s the big deal with “big data”? And why should it matter so much to marketers? What ever happened to good, old-fashion brainstorming sessions with your marketing team, educated guesses about the future or using your gut instincts developed over years of experience for your marketing decisions? While using your right-brain, creative side still has its place in many core aspects of marketing – such as branded design, video messaging and campaign messaging – data science is now at the forefront of effective marketing strategy, and it will only become a bigger factor in business marketing in the future. The exponential increase in marketing channels, combined with the speed and complexity of the business landscape today, make data-driven analysis a critical factor in the success of marketing programs and businesses.
According to the market research firm IDC, big data industry revenue is expected to reach nearly $17 billion by 2015, and the total market is predicted to approach $50 billion by 2017. In our digital world, almost everything we do now creates an electronic record – most of our purchases, the places we travel to, the websites we visit, the blogs we read, the people we follow on Twitter and the people we connect with on Facebook. According to SAS, “Big data is a popular term used to describe the exponential growth and availability of data, both structured and unstructured. And big data may be as important to business – and society – as the Internet has become. Why? More data may lead to more accurate analyses. More accurate analyses may lead to more confident decision making. And better decisions can mean greater operational efficiencies, cost reductions and reduced risk.”
The important aspect of big data is not the volume of data you can now acquire – there is an astronomical amount of data available to you as a marketer, both internal and external to your company – but finding ways to leverage and benefit from this vast amount of data. The goal for a marketing organization should be to take data from any and every source, collect the data, harness relevant information to find ways leverage this data to optimize your marketing strategy. Big data helps marketers do things like: better define and target their customer audience; uncover new patterns of customer behavior; optimize new product development; identify customer segments most likely to by certain products at a given time; and helps marketers with more intelligent business decision making.
To accomplish this, marketers need to master big data applications to properly harness and analyze this data to their advantage. According to Gartner, companies that invest in Big Data will outperform those competitors by 20% in almost every available financial metric. To briefly summarize the points in an article by Tim Girgenti, “Five Big Data Principles to Guide Your Marketing Strategies”, he proposes principals regarding big data that successful companies understand, summarized briefly below:
- Per Gartner’s research noted above, companies that embrace big data will outperform competitors in virtually every financial metric. This will give your marketing programs and organization a critical edge in a competitive marketplace.
- Big Data is ideally suited to drive sales growth through more effective marketing. If you’re investing in big data, tying the initiative into applications, processes, and activities that improve marketing effectiveness and drive sales growth is essential. Big Data applications will help identify the right prospects and present them with the right offers and prices that have the highest probability of closing a successful transaction
- Big Data is about connected data. What we really want is connected data. When we think about promotions, campaigns to build market share, lead-generation programs, pricing changes, and other marketing disciplines, we want and need the ability to piece together multiple, disparate data points to identify patterns that help marketers predict outcomes and prescribe actions.
- Actionable insights for marketing yield better outcomes. Big Data alone isn’t enough – data analyses won’t yield one dollar of return if they’re not tied to execution. The value is achieved when Big Data analyses are actionable and tightly tied into execution applications which let you execute on the data you analyze.
- You need data science, from insight to outcome. Data science—the sophisticated statistical routines and algorithms that uncover the hidden, significant correlations and patterns—elevates Big Data applications to catalysts for improving your business. For instance, with data science, you can sift through your terabytes of data points to uncover the top prospects with the highest probability of buying your highest-margin product in the next quarter.
By combining big data and high powered analytics, marketers can find ways to outperform their competition and create significant competitive advantages by making better and faster decisions, increasing operational efficiencies, predicting customer trends, optimizing product offerings and pricing, and selling more products.
What is your company doing today to harness the power of big data? Do you find it a useful strategy to explore for your marketing programs?
This post was originally published on John Moran’s personal blog, johnmoranblog.