The Role of Big Data in Marketing Strategies

Comparing data to big data is all about gigabytes vs terabytes, right? Not really. That is a bit like judging the effectiveness of a police force based on the number of bullets fired.

Big data is not so much about the volume of data as it is about how data is used to improve service delivery. According to some business experts, big data is a force of tsunami-like proportions that can be harnessed to provide insights and value to businesses. But before you ride, you have to catch the horse, right? Catching the horse, in this case, means having consensus in your team on what big data is exactly. A good starting point that you can customize for your team is that big data is a collection of data, from digital and traditional sources, that you can use for continuous discovery and analysis of customer needs. The emphasis is on continuous discovery.

How to use big data to improve your marketing strategy

According to big data solution services, businesses can leverage big data to identify opportunities for improvement in marketing by utilizing patterns and trends revealed via analytics. But exactly how do you leverage big data? That is the tricky part, but we have tips that should take the guesswork out.

  1. Consolidate your data acquisition and synthesis

You have just completed your new mobile application development and deployed the app successfully, and this has given you unprecedented access to your customer. Your point-of-sale systems and e-commerce platforms are also gathering data. Did I mention the data streaming in from your CRM enabled social media accounts?

All these sources of data are important in and of themselves, but whatever volume and value of data brought in by each, it is not big data. Not until you integrate all of them into one sanitized data set. The unified data set will give you a 360-degree view of your customers across all platforms, allowing for a better understanding of how customers interact with your products and staff.

With the patterns gotten from analyzing the unified multi-platform data, it becomes easier to segment your market and initiate strategically targeted campaigns for customer engagement. It also allows better identification of brand ambassadors and opinion shapers across all platforms, who can then be fostered for improved brand evangelism.

  1. Use your big data in combination with public census data

Using big data in conjunction with publicly available big data was a stroke of marketing strategy genius for GreenPal, according to CEO Bryan Clayton. For instance, a recent pay-per-click campaign by GreenPal improved from conversion rates of 10 percent and a click-through rate of 1 percent to 30 percent conversion and 3 percent click-through rates. What changed? They combined big data with publicly available data on home values and incomes in Nashville. Based on the results, they created a custom campaign for East Nashville, which data indicated would be more price sensitive than most of the other neighborhoods.

  1. Have the end in mind

This is counter-intuitive, but it works. Big data means that marketers are practically drowning in data, hence the paradigm shift. Identify the patterns you are looking for before you analyze data. For instance, looking for areas where your competitor's sales are increasing while your sales are constant is easier than looking for under-served market segments.

  1. Use data to match sales reps to customers

According to market researchers, companies can use big data to match customers to sales reps in order to improve customer satisfaction and closure rates. Incomprehensible accent according to you might be ideal speech to someone else. With such knowledge, matching reps of particular backgrounds to specific demographic segments is a no-brainer.

  1. Analyze the competition

An often overlooked application of big data is using it to find under-served segments by both yourself and the competition. Rachelle Van Soest, co-owner of Immortology, recently used this approach and found both her client and their competition in student housing were not marketing to the 'academic' side of students. The marketing strategy they developed (discounts to students with 3.5+ GPA) was out of the box and the results were incredible (30 percent increase in occupancy).

Big data is not all about data volumes, but more about how the data is used. The analysis of big data and its transformation into actionable information is what matters. You can achieve this by consolidating your sources in combination with publicly available data and using this to complement your existing marketing strategy.

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Comment by Azana Baksh on January 2, 2018 at 2:30pm
Finnegan, big data is great when it comes to marketing! We definitely are seeing an increase in activity with companies responding to the impact big data has made on their business. For companies of any size, getting meaningful insights from data analytics is an important priority. HPCC Systems (hpccsystems.com) is one of the open source big data platforms with built-in analytics libraries for Machine Learning to help extract useful insights from data. Designed by data scientists, HPCC Systems represents more than a decade of internal research and development in the big data analytics field.  For a compelling case study on Marketing big data, visit www.hpccsystems.com/case-studies/Infosys    

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