Any marketer who doubts the transformational power of Big Data need only look at its massive growth. According to statistics by Forrester and Wikibon, the Big Data software market is poised to be worth $31 billion this year, which represents 14% growth compared to the previous year. Moreover, the worldwide market for Big Data software development is expected to jump significantly over the next 10 years, from $42 billion this year to 103 billion in by 2027.
SOURCE: WIKIBON AND REPORTED BY STATISTA.
This is the power of data-driven marketing: strategies built on insights gleaned from the analysis of massive data sets harvested across a number of channels and from many touchpoints.
The question now is what does this revolution in data harvesting mean for marketers today?
More importantly, how can marketers leverage it to better personalize the customer experience and thus create higher engagement and boost profits and brand loyalty?
This article looks at a number of different ways marketers today can and should utilize big data to boost their brand.
Use Big Data for personalization, not mass marketing
Many B2C companies, like Amazon and Netflix, have this well figured out. While the recommendations they tailor for customers are based on Big Data, the most important thing is they use it to properly personalize those recommendations. More often than not the recommendations we receive when logging onto these sites are indeed of interest to us, and that’s how every marketer, be it in the enterprise space or B2B, should approach Big Data.
Consider account-based marketing, that much-heralded B2B strategy of targeting your resources on clearly defined accounts. ABM relies on personalized campaigns to appeal to the specific attributes of these accounts. Therefore, it’s incumbent on you as a B2B operation to use Big Data to craft these personalized campaigns.
There are best practices for doing so. For example, use the data to craft your strategy from the ground up, starting small with email and website content before diving into more complex personalization strategies. Also, ensure that you have processes in place to manage all the data coming in, and always A/B test your personalization campaigns. Above all else give your targets a choice: let them opt-out of your personalized campaign if they so choose.
Focus on the right data
The term “Big Data” has many connotations. It’s trendy terminology to throw around these days, as many marketers equate larger data sets with greater opportunity to reach their target audience. This is certainly true—provided Big Data is used in the correct way.
It’s the difference between the combat operation expending limitless amounts of ammunition spraying the general area of a target with gunfire, and the sniper equipped with a single bullet and knowledge of the target. The former achieves nothing but chaos; the latter achieves the targeted goal with surgical precision.
Military analogies aside, the key for marketers is to figure out what is the most relevant data. Sometimes that data will indeed be big, and sometimes it will be smaller.
A good example is that often the smaller data, such as the number of empty values, number of error rates, data storage costs, etc. will tell you where you’re wasting your efforts. It will show you how to reduce waste and where to focus your marketing strategies.
Rely on artificial intelligence
As data sets grow ever larger, it becomes more cumbersome for humans (aided by analytics tools) to sort it all out. It’s now becoming necessary to utilize advanced tech like AI, machine learning, and deep learning to drive Big Data maturation.
We’re already seeing brands invest in this technology for such purposes, whether it’s Facebook utilizing deep learning in their Photo Search feature (which allows users to more efficiently search their photo library), or Amazon using AI technology to predict product demand and identify fraud.
With advances in AI, marketers can now feed large data sets into machine-learning systems that can process enormous amounts of data in seconds or fractions of seconds.
This effectively renders old analytics programs—those that analyzed metrics each step of the way—obsolete. Marketers should go all in on this technology now considering that AI is expected to be a key feature in all analytics software in the near future.
Take a holistic, company-wide view of Big Data
While harnessing the power of big data should be an initiative for the marketing department, educating the entire company about how Big Data relates to them specifically can do wonders to help eliminate silos and focus everyone’s efforts.
Sure, marketers should be analyzing all the data, but they should also bridge the gap with the IT department, letting them know exactly how it is accessed. Moreover, they should make the costs of Big Data initiatives clear to the accounting department, and front-line employees should be armed with all the relevant harvested data in order to greater personalize the customer experience.
Ultimately when big data is utilized the right way, it can not only help marketers better appeal to their targets, but it can help reorganize their business operation from the ground up.
Big Data eliminates waste while helping to align the sales and marketing departments; it’s the springboard for creating ideal personalized campaigns and it can focus all your marketing efforts. Just make sure you use it the right way.