Creative thinking that delivers results

11 Apr

How ‘big’ is Big Data?

Category: Marketing strategy
Big data, data analytics, marketing strategy, SMB

The evolution of technology in marketing has been truly momentous over the last five years alone. Marketers are relying more and more on tech to solve the ‘big data equation’ in order to make informed and intelligent marketing decisions. The growth in big data – and in tech offerings to manage all this data – will only grow in the coming years as businesses strive to use it as a differentiator.

What is Big Data

According to global tech company SAS, big data describes the large volume of data that inundates businesses on a daily basis. The true challenge with big data is to be able to better interpret the copious amounts of information it provides, and to use it to facilitate more informed analysis that can lead to clearer insights and better business decisions.

The digital world has enabled us to capture reams more data than was ever possible before. The task for companies and the marketers that support them is to be able to effectively decipher all this data and use it to benefit the company as a whole.

One goal that marketers want to accomplish through big data analysis is to be able to develop and perfect the concept of “personalized marketing”. This term refers to the ability to generate more personally relevant marketing messages to customers, and in particular to your best customers and prospects.

Personalized marketing is not new

It may be hard to believe but the term personalized marketing, then known as “one-to-one marketing” is over 20 years old, created in 1993 in large part due to the work of renowned thought leaders Don Peppers and Martha Rogers in their seminal book “The One-to-One Future”.

This book spoke about the importance of building customer relationships one at a time by spending the time to get to know the likes and preferences of your customers, and then delivering relevant and compelling offers to them. This research was the precursor to the CRM (customer relationship management) tech evolution that is still alive and well today.

The current challenge for marketers

So what does big data and personalized marketing mean for business? It simply indicates that for a company to stand out from their competitors, avoid competing on price and become more relevant to an increasingly more skeptical customer, they need to be capable of delivering customized (i.e. personalized) messages, offers and information that will truly resonate and entice them to buy from them. Easy, right?

Not at all! And there-in lies the problem for marketers. In spite of the digital revolution and the exponential growth in marketing tech to help us manage all this data, the sheer volume of data coupled with inefficient and incomplete tech solutions has resulted in a gap, a disconnect between the needs of marketers to create these personalized customer experiences and the solutions available to them.

So what’s next?

It’s logical to expect that a tech solution will eventually be able to close the gap or eliminate it all together so marketers can easily and readily develop one-to-one marketing campaigns for their clients. The question that should be asked is how accessible and affordable will this be for the average company, and what kind of resources and skills will be needed to manage it?

It’s apparent at least to this writer that in the case of small or medium-sized businesses (SMBs), this type of tech may not be an option due to the limitations noted above. So what can an SMB do to combat this? Are there more manageable approaches that can help them get over this rather large hump?

The role of marketing strategy

There is indeed a practical way to manage the inherent challenges marketers face when trying to implement a big data or data analytics mindset into their company. And it all starts with developing a sound, comprehensive and proven marketing strategy for your business!

When businesses spend the time to develop a detailed marketing strategy for their business, it provides a roadmap to follow in developing effective marketing campaigns and programs for their business. We’ve outlined the various components of a marketing strategy in a previous blog.

When it comes to big data, a good marketing strategy can give marketers a clearer idea of their target markets, customers and products or services to focus your analytics efforts on. Thus, you should be able to eliminate a number of data sets, transactions and customer information that doesn’t align with the above strategic elements.

As a result, you can start the process on the right foot, with a focused and strategic perspective on how best to tackle your data analysis challenge. And remember to use common sense in deciding how best to focus your efforts; this can also go a long way to simplifying things for you.

If you need help devising your marketing strategy or figuring out how best to address your data analytics needs, feel free to contact us. We’d love to sit down and discuss how we can add value and get you on the right path for marketing success.