You need Big Data.
It’s no longer enough to know your segment, you have to know the individual buyer and Big Data will help you do this.
How do you decide where your marketing money goes? How do you find out who your customers are? How do you find out how effective your advertising spending is? How do you make your marketing decisions?
The old adage “facts before acts” is often referred to purposefully by marketing professionals – it is a great rule to live by. However, considering that the last two years accounts for 90 percent of all the data we have generated, it’s easy for one to wonder about what facts the old adage was referring to.
It’s not that marketers of the past didn’t have data, it’s just that marketers of today have far too much data. In fact, a recent study shows that we generate 2,500,000 Terabytes of data per day. Assuming that the average laptop can store 500 Gigabytes of data, this means that we generate the equivalent of roughly 5 million laptops full of data each day. Furthermore, this number is not going to get any smaller as the adoption of the Internet becomes more widespread globally and technological advances allow us to track and store an increasing amount of information.
Given the numbers, it’s easy to think that the term Big Data is a reference to the Brobdingnagian amounts of, well, data. But that is only part of it what the term refers to. Big Data covers everything from the increasing speed of data generation to its complexity, what is collected, how it is collected, how it is stored, and most important of all, how it is analysed. Big Data is about data-driven decision making or as the old adage says, “facts before acts”.
There are challenges of course, the first of which is identifying the correct data. In this case more does not equal better. There are three categories of big data that marketers should be most concerned with. The first is information about their customers. This can be gathered from customer surveys, loyalty programmes, website analytics, and social media. The second is information about the business’ financials. This can be gathered from financial systems such as Xero or MYOB. Everything from profits, sales, revenue, and advertising spend by channel is of value. The third is operational information. This category deals with all the operational objectives of marketing – ie. marketing operations, budgetary controls, process times, and process costs.
Once the correct data is collected, the next challenge lies in analysing it. Data is only as valuable as the insights we can gain from it. Using the correct tools and methods can be the difference between finding the gold nugget or leaving empty handed. However, the greatest challenge is in taking the insight that has been squeezed out of the data and putting it to work.
When done right, Big Data can enable us to better define our ideal customer profiles, identify the most effective sales pitch, and predict what a prospect or an existing customer is going to do before they do it based on identified patterns. Think about that for a moment.