Aneesh Reddy
Mar 21, 2014

Big data in marketing: Five reasons it matters

Despite all the discussion of big data, there's a surprising lack of specifics about what benefits it can provide for marketers. Here's five.

Aneesh Reddy
Aneesh Reddy

The phase “big data” refers to large amounts of dynamic data that cannot be easily captured, managed and analysed by traditional data tools. The complexities of big data are its volume, variety and velocity. Big data is generated from several sources:

  • People to people interactions through social networking sites and online communities
  • People to machine interactions such as e-commerce, digital TV, or banks cards
  • Machine to machine interactions such as sensors, GPS devices, and barcode scanners

Big data is shared at a very high speed and high volume. For example, close to 2.9 million emails are sent per second, about 50 million tweets are tweeted per day and around 20 hours of videos are uploaded on YouTube per minute.

Many organisations have massive amounts of data collected which could uncover profitable patterns in customer shopping habits. Unfortunately, there are significant challenges to converting this data into intelligent insights for strategic planning.

Marketers are expected to drive organizational goals focused on customer centricity. They are looking to big data to facilitate personalized customer engagement in real-time.

Organisations lack the ability to analyse the available data, but are gearing up to support more refined analysis. Companies are poised to invest both time and money. The challenge is to use analytics to decode the data and derive useful insights in real-time which can help in decision making at every level in the organisation.

Here are five ways big data can help marketers get the biggest bang for their buck:

1. Improve customer centricity and take the offer directly to consumers with interest and intent to buy.

Big data enables marketers to access customer data like never before. Customers generate data through various platforms and interactions. Big Data empowers marketers to connect the data across the customer life cycle from search to purchase.

Converting large volumes of data into meaningful information pools allows companies to target the proper mix of people, time, and message as well sending that message through the appropriate communication channels. Deep understanding of customer behaviour ensures good customer centric marketing.

2. Support more intelligent media investments.

Omni-channel marketing is no longer a trend, but rather a necessity. Omni-channel is a marketing term referring to the multiple channels and platforms consumers use to research and to connect with a brand. These may include radio, television, print, social networking sites and e-commerce sites, as well as pay-per-click or call advertising.

Customers choose the medium they wish to use to interact with a brand and may switch between the platforms during the course of their day. Each of these channels generates different data that needs to be consolidated and analysed. The analysis of huge amounts of data collected from customer inquiries to clicks-and-conversions reveals patterns as well as trends. Studying these patterns uncovers methods for improving advertising using different media formats. Marketers make more confident decisions on media investments. The result is better performance and return on investment.

3. Prepare brands for future changes in demand

Real-time data from web logs, GPS data, RFID/sensor data, social networking sites, search, or mobile apps enables marketers to confidently anticipate customer demand. Marketers can also take the application of Big Data to the next level by applying insights to make critical business decisions related to product development, pricing, CRM, staffing and distributions.

4. Direct sales efforts in the most profitable direction

Use Big Data to equip a sales team with the right information on the right prospects. Generally, an existing client base generates more revenue than new business. Big Data analysis can uncover opportunities within the current client base to help sales teams prioritize accounts better. The data can also be used to create content for sales training and improve time to market.

5. Fosters thought leadership, innovation and creativity

Big Data helps marketers unleash the full potential of available data and develop relevant customer engagement. Marketers use real-time analytics in innovative ways. One of the best examples of this is eBay's data driven home page- it leverages information garnered from Big Data to influence buying behaviour. Amazon, GE, Netflix, and Wal-Mart use Big Data to detect purchasing intent, create better customer relationships, make customised recommendations on products and services, as well as enhance customer service providing customers with a superior shopping experience.

Aneesh Reddy is co-founder and CEO of Capillary Technologies


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