The term big data is being widely used.
“Have you checked the big data?”
“What can you tell from the big data?”
“Is that what big data tells you to do?”
First of all, what is big data and how BIG is it exactly?
Big data refers to the ever-increasing volume, velocity, variety, variability and complexity of information. The term “big data” doesn’t just refer to the data itself, but also refers to challenges, capabilities and competencies associated with storing and analyzing such huge data sets to support a level of decision making that is more accurate and timely.
The data has always been big. Think back to 20 to 30 years ago, marketers collected data from direct mail campaigns, coupon redemption and so on in order to help them make better judgements and decisions. Now think about the consumer data we are capable of collecting today, especially on digital platforms– online purchase data, click-through rates, social media interactions and many more. In a world where everything is measurable like ours today, the data never really ends! The challenge is learning how to make sense of those colossal amounts of data, knowing what to use and what to ignore.
Data is all about facts. Having big data doesn’t automatically lead to better marketing but the potential is definitely there. The key is how we interpret the data and gather insights derived from it. It’s about the decisions you make and the actions you take in the end after having a clearer picture of consumers that makes all the difference.
With big data, marketing decisions can be more effective with minimized costs and maximized results. Moreover, it can help marketers to gain a clearer picture of their ideal customer, optimize customer engagement -marketing campaigns and messages and improve content marketing including predicting the future. There is a saying “study the past if you’re to define the future” for a reason after all.
Because customers today are connected at all times and have more choices available to them, big data can help marketers to be fully equipped by knowing specific touch points, including the moments that lead up to the purchase and be ready to tackle. Big data has changed the marketer’s roles in certain ways. Marketers today have to be just as technical and analytical as they must be creative. Big data can certainly help businesses leverage any situation and stay competitive in a global environment like the one we’re living in today which results in sales growth and increased ROI which is the ultimate goal of every business.
However, just like everything else in this world, nothing is perfect. Big data also has its limitations such as the fact user data can be biased, asking wrong questions can lead to wrong answers, security issues as the data we gathered could get leaked and inconsistency in the data collection process. Therefore, it is crucial for marketers to be aware of these factors and always take them into account when making decisions or planning for the future. Otherwise, this might happen to you:
In my humble opinion, data alone is not enough for making a decision. We should look at things from as many perspectives as possible in order to make smart choices. After the whole process of collecting, interpreting and evaluating relevant information, it is equally essential to use gut instincts, perform a situation analysis, conduct a cost/benefit including risk analysis, and last but not least, follow-up, evaluate and be ready to make changes if needed.
One thing that fascinates me the most about marketing is that there are no rules and we, as marketers, need to be ready to change and adapt ourselves all the time. What’s got you here won’t get you there so we have to stay alert at all times. With clear goals and objectives, big data is here to help us acquire better insights and segmentations in order to communicate better with the consumers when in the end, it all comes down to content.
As many organizations are leveraging data from various sources to improve their digital marketing campaigns, marketers should be data savvy in order to remain relevant in the digital marketing landscape. However, at the same time, it is as important as ever to humanize that data with a marketer’s creative touch.
Keep an eye on the big data guys! It’s definitely getting bigger and definitely here to stay.