Big Data in Marketing: How to Harness Its Power to Improve Your Marketing Efforts
Do you ever feel like you’re swimming in a sea of data, and you don’t know which way to turn?
Well, you’re not alone. Every day, marketers are confronted with more data than they can possibly handle. According to Forbes, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are generated daily. It’s gotten to the point where no one can handle it. And yet, to achieve measured success in today’s competitive market leads with a data strategy to help make sense of disjointed data points.
As marketers we’re now able to gather huge amounts of data about audience behavior, preferences, location, and sentiment. To analyze this information, allows for the creation of customer segments, and the ability to deliver highly personalized content across multiple channels in real-time.
But how can companies harness the power of big data to improve their marketing efforts? And what is required for this transformation?
Let’s explore the power of big data in marketing and discuss how you can harness its power to improve your marketing efforts.
What is Big Data
According to IDC, “Big Data” will become a key driver of competition, enabling brands to achieve new levels of productivity growth, innovation, and profitability as long as they adopt a data-driven approach to decision-making.
Before we get into the details about Big Data and marketing, let’s get a basic understanding of what Big Data is.
Big Data is the term used to describe the large volume of data an organization generates on a daily basis, both structured and unstructured.
Companies can analyze Big Data for insights which lead to better decisions and strategic business moves. But it’s not the amount of data that’s important. It’s what organizations do with the data that matters.
How Is Big Data Being Used?
Companies who sell products online can track every customer interaction with their website. This information can be mined for valuable insights into consumer behavior.
For example, Amazon tracks you as you browse through their product offerings. When you select a product and decide not to purchase it, Amazon emails you with a discounted offer on said product based upon the assumption you were interested in it but didn’t want to pay full price for it.
If your mobile phone has GPS built into it (and most do these days), tracking data points like geo-location, geo-tagging, activity and transactional timestamps lend to consumer behavior data points. This is where the fun begins and trained data professionals in the area of statistics and other analytical techniques are able to mine these data points for marketing insights.
How To Collect And Analyze Big Data To Improve Your Marketing Efforts
There is no question that Big Data has had a huge impact on marketing. By collecting and analyzing large amounts of data, marketers can better understand their customers and what they want. This, in turn, allows them to create more effective marketing campaigns and improve their overall ROI.
Shall we count the ways [to collect Big Data]:
- Web Analytics tools
- Web analytics tools like Google Analytics can help collect data on visitor behavior, such as their IP address, pages they visited, how long they were on the website, what categories they browsed, and where they came from. This information helps to better understand customer needs and wants.
- Social media monitoring tools aka Social listening
- Social media platforms provide valuable customer insights through social listening. You can learn more about your target audience by monitoring their conversations on various social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and more.
- Surveys and polls
- You can gather valuable information about the interests and preferences of your customers by using surveys and polls (hello qualitative insights, goodbye assumptions).
- Online feedback forms
Online feedback forms allow you to collect information directly from your customers about their customer experience and yes, #UX can be leveraged here.
How Can You Use Big Data to Improve on Marketing Campaigns
To see the potential of Big Data, imagine a brand manager for Coca-Cola who wants to grow sales. Conventional wisdom is to increase advertising and expand distribution. Big Data offers another approach: analyze the data collected from consumers and find new ways to encourage them to buy more.
For example, suppose Coke had sensors in every refrigerator that tracked how often the door was opened and when it was opened. This simple act of measuring usage might lead to interesting insights. Perhaps most people open their fridge after coming home from work at 7 pm.
Coke might want to run ads during the 6 o’clock news or send coupons to people’s mobile phones at 5:30 pm. Using artificial intelligence, Coca-Cola has successfully captured pictures of people using their products on social media and utilized them to send targeted ads to the same people.
Or, in another example, let’s consider Macy’s. Macy’s has a database containing information on all its customers’ credit card purchases, as well as the specific items they’ve looked at online. Macy’s can send emails with personalized offers to each customer in real-time using this data.
A forty-something woman who just bought a pair of black heels may get an ad for a matching handbag; meanwhile, her teenage son might receive an offer for a video game he browsed recently. As a result, customers are more likely to click on the ads and make additional purchases.
More generally, companies are using data about customers’ locations, preferences, activities, and relationships to create new products and services. They also use this data to target advertising more effectively, improve their operations and reduce risk.
How to Integrate Big Data Into Your Marketing Strategy
So how can you harness the power of Big Data to improve your marketing efforts?
Use the Data You Already Have
The first step in leveraging big data is to make use of the information you already have but may not be using. Customer relationship management (CRM) software like Salesforce, Zoho, etc. can help you analyze customer behavior and manage customer relationships.
An effective CRM system collects data, tracks customer behavior, purchases, interactions, and more. Then you can use this information to segment customers into groups that share similar characteristics and target them based on their needs and interests.
Collect As Much Data As Possible
The more data you have, the better equipped you are to understand your customers. Make sure to collect data from all channels, including website visits, social media interactions, and email campaigns. Enter stage left your Customer Data Platform (CDP).
Analyze the Data
Once you have collected the data, it’s time to look at what is working and what isn’t. Look for trends in your customer behavior that can help you figure out how best to target them with your marketing campaigns.
Test what you’ve learned and measure the results to determine if it positively impacted your business. Repeat this process as necessary, using what you’ve learned to make changes so that your marketing strategy is constantly evolving.
Use Software Tools
Big Data provides you with powerful analytical tools to gain new insights into your customers. Use these tools to help you understand what is driving customer behavior and come up with new ways to reach them.
Use specialized tools to analyze and interpret large data sets. These tools allow you to sample portions of your data set and quickly analyze it without waiting for massive software jobs to run or spending money on faster hardware.
The Future of Big Data and Its Impact on Marketing
Traditional marketing approaches have lost their relevance. Technology and data management capabilities have evolved. The ability to store, process, and analyze colossal amounts of data has become cheaper and easier, which calls for a new way to look at marketing strategy.
Big Data represents a sea of opportunities. If you believe the hype, it will help you achieve greater levels of innovation, efficiency, customer insight, and performance.
It is not only about Big Data; it is about a smart approach to mastering this vast amount of data that companies have started collecting over the past decade. It is about using analytics tools to connect all the dots, discover hidden patterns in your data, and make more informed business decisions.
The ultimate goal of Big Data is to increase revenue by providing a better understanding of your customers’ preferences and needs and delivering products that they want while they want them.
No doubt, implementing Big Data in your marketing strategy can put you in a better position to gain insights into your customers. However, keep in mind that some of the advantages listed above may not pertain to you due to certain factors.
Successful implementation of Big Data requires that you have the right team, time, and resources allocated to support it. Neglecting these things could leave you at a disadvantage against marketing competitors who are on the same level or have surpassed you.
Hopefully the examples shared have given you some ideas for how you can start using Big Data in your own marketing efforts. If you need help getting started send me a DM or if you just enjoyed this article give it a share, spread the brainshare power.
Catch you next week!