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With its incredible levels of accuracy and detail, and the vast opportunities for better understanding and communicating with your customers, there’s no question that big data is a juicy topic for marketers.
And it’s a topic we’ve been talking about for a while. In fact, we’ve been talking about big data since the phrase was coined back in 1998. (Yep, that’s 17 years ago!) So isn’t it about time that marketing stopped talking about big data and started putting it to work?
This post discusses the benefits of big data for marketing, shows you how to prepare the groundwork, and shares 4 data hacks to get you started.
Knowledge has always been power in marketing: now more so than ever. Big data can help marketers understand their audience: what matters to them, how they like to be communicated with, and where they go for information - as well as shedding light on which marketing activity is working, and which isn’t.
Here are just a few examples of the many ways that big data can be put to work:
Big data for marketing: before you start
For most organisations, getting their hands on the data isn’t the problem: but being able to use and make sense of it is. Here are some essential must-do’s to prepare the groundwork:
Most organisations hold vast amounts of customer data: and actually sifting through it all to find what you need can be a showstopper in itself. If you’re not sure what you need, start with your business objectives: what information gaps are holding you back? Take the most significant and start from there.
Often an organisation's data is siloed, out of date or incomplete. Make sure it’s usable before investing in software or people.
There is a growing range of analytical tools to help marketers manage and use big data. Choosing the right one could mean the difference between sinking and swimming.
Technology alone isn’t going to get the job done. You need people with the experience and skills to turn data into insights, and apply these insights to your marketing programs.
Too often, analytics are seen as a bolt-on to the end of a project. The reality is that analytics need to be built into your planning processes. What do you need to learn? How will the insights affect your campaign? All this needs to be thought through at the outset.
It’s not just your CMO who needs insights. The guys on the coalface need it too: everyone from your front of house, to your telemarketers, to your sales guns, will all benefit from improved customer insights.
Now that you’re ready, here are 4 manageable big data hacks to get you started:
All marketers understand the importance of sending the right message at the right time. See if your data can tell you something around who’s responding to what, and when. Apply the insights to your next marketing activity and see if it makes a difference.
Some content works better than others. Measuring what works and what doesn’t makes it easier to identify the elements of success and replicate them elsewhere. Customer tagging and content scoring makes this so much easier than it used to be.
No data? No problem. Use someone else’s: namely Google. Google Trends analyses search terms to identify trending topics: giving you an insight into what your market cares about.
Big data can tell you so much about your customers: age, demographics, work profiles, which web sites and social media platforms they visit, how they engage with your website. Overwhelmed? Pick the most useful insight and just focus on that one for now.
Big data is certainly big news for marketers. But the key is to start small: Don’t try and do it all at once, but start by identifying one or two key objectives, and plan how big data can help you deliver them. Once you've executed your plan, and seen some results, you can move on to the next. This approach helps you grow your big data capacity at a manageable rate, allowing to to gain internal buy-in and upskill your team as you go.
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