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 Inside Big Data – What’s in it for Marketing?

Inside Big Data – What’s in it for Marketing?

“Data! Data! Data!” he cried. “I can’t make bricks without clay.” – Sherlock Holmes

-The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

And this is exactly how most marketers feel before they start designing their marketing campaigns. Consumer insights are the most important element for driving marketing decisions. Without them, most enterprises would stop functioning. Big data is one of the manifestations of today’s consumer trends – proliferation of social actions, platforms and devices.
There are three important aspects of big data that are challenging marketers – volume, variety and velocity. Millions of dollars are spent in setting up robust data centers to tackle these challenges. These infrastructures have given rise to new methods and technologies to handle and process data, which are efficient and fast. And marketers are only just starting to realize the power of this efficiency and the opportunity to leverage data.
In order to maximize profitability, marketers are always looking for ways to optimize their media spending, communication strategy, and customer segment.
– Who are we targeting?
– What are we saying?
– When and where are we saying?
These questions need definite answers, which can only be produced through analysis of customer data. And we are lucky that we have the technology and data to work on.

Today, there are a variety of customer touch points that are generating data every second – likes, shares, comments, tweets, updates, videos, voice, mouse clicks, location, meta tags, customer transactions etc. All this unstructured data calls for an extensive analysis and integration with structured data available with the enterprise.

Besides these challenges, marketing in particular has more to benefit from this paradigm shift.

How marketers can use Big Data?

1. Customer Insights, Segmentation or targeting.
Understanding customers has never been easier than this. The data collected from a variety of customer touch points can be mined for 360 degree profiling and segmentation.
2. Optimizing the communication message.
In today’s fast paced communication highways, messages travel at the speed of light, reaching millions. As the message moves from one person to another, it creates a lot of feedback that can be gathered in real-time. Analysis of such feedback gives marketers a clearer look into the performance of the message and the kind of optimization it might need. This can enable marketers carry out A/B testing on messages and increase their impact.
3. Real-time Recommendation Generation
The retail sector is one area which can benefit hugely from big data analytics, because compared to any other industry, it creates huge data from different offline and online transactions.
Big data can allow e-commerce sites to crunch a huge amount of data in seconds and provide recommendations to the visitors on the kind of products they might be interested to buy. This kind of real-time analytics implementation can hugely increase the sales count. Google, Amazon and now even Facebook, have been experimenting with such methods to make effective Ads and product placements.

4. New product Strategies
Starting from mobile devices to clothes to shoes, you can buy anything online. As a result, there are numerous dedicated blogs and communities that discuss specific products. This provides huge opportunities for marketers to analyze the conversation and produce strong correlations between the kinds of product people might want to buy. These kinds of feedback can be sent back to the product team to make any edits and changes. These adjustments can increase the effectiveness of the product by large margins.
5. Lead/Prospect Identification
Currently many automated marketing tools are coming up with the implementation of big data analytics, which
allows marketers to understand how people are interacting with their marketing campaigns and identify prospects. With information generated from engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and other platforms, such tools can effectively identify leads which are more likely to convert.
6. Improving customer experience
CRM tools and contact centers are under huge challenges to resolve online customer complaints originating from hundreds of different platforms and portals. Besides responding to messages, analytics can be implemented to predict future issues and trends to avoid any escalation. This can help marketers be prepared with active measures and improve the customer experience with the service or products.

The great debate among experts and technologists is still between how much should marketers depend on big data analytics. Many traditional marketers still believe that most campaigns are based on gut feeling and instinct, and less data driven. But I believe, at the end it is what you want to achieve through your campaigns and to what extent you can optimize them through data analytics. There will always be a portion of understanding, which will be based on instincts and human experience.
With time and money, every enterprise comes under a certain phase where optimization becomes a key factor in winning a competition or making a jump to new heights. In such scenarios big data can provide marketers with an instrumental tool to bring the most and best out of the campaign.
[This article has been taken from the recent ebook from Simplify360 The Future of Social Media: Predictive Analytics. You can download it here.]

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