Five ways to stay ahead in the ‘Big Data’ world

Tip one: make your digital marketing team a data driven one 

The amount of data now available can seem overwhelming. According to a study reported by eMarketer, 91% of respondents were concerned about driving ROI from big data and 70% about making sense of all the data coming at them.
Econsultancy's recent  Online Measurement and Strategy Report 2013 found that many marketers were confused by the term, and it has yet to make a real impact on business goals for many. 
While the change to a more analytical role may seem daunting to many marketers, there are some simple steps to making the transition to a data driven team easier (thanks to Hubspot), which in summary are: 
  • Put the right analytics in place.
  • Assign specific metrics to individual marketing team members.
  • Establish benchmarks.
  • Set metrics-driven goals.
  • Have regular progress reports.
  • Back up marketing decisions with data.
  • Reward the highest achievers.
  • Use data to drive content creation.
  • Use A/B testing.
  • Share your data driven research across the business.

Tip two: be clear about what you want your Big Data to enable you to do

Without a goal in mind for what you want your data to help you achieve, you’ll be floundering in a world of analysis for no good reason.
Marketers’ top three priorities (according to Aberdeen Group) are:
  • Improving targeting of marketing offers (getting the right person, in the right channel, at the right time, with the right message) - 52%.
  • Aligning overall marketing activities with specific sales goals and objectives - 43%.
  • Gaining insight about the effectiveness of specific marketing campaigns and channels - 39%

Tip three: don’t just look back, look ahead

So you’ve got a handle on all the data, and have your processes in place. Now, to make the most of what it reveals about what your customers and prospects have done in the past, use it to predict what they’ll do in the future.
Using the knowledge you are gathering about when your customers make their purchase decisions makes marketing products or services to them when they want or need them much easier.

Tip four: integrate your data storage to gain holistic insights from structured and unstructured data

Harnessing the power of Big Data advanced analytics in a format that is easy to digest, analyse and share has been one of the biggest problems of the digital data explosion, but things are changing.
In 2011, the winner of the top prize at the Media Guardian Innovation Awards was Apache Hadoop, an open source, flexible storage framework that can handle both structured and unstructured files and share analysis from them.
Another new kid on the block is Origami Logic, which is a product built specifically for marketers that brings together big data analytics, data science and data visualisation technologies to deliver marketing insights. Integrated with a CRM system, these tools can work wonders. 

Tip five: remember that old-style marketing fundamentals remain the same, they are just delivered in a new way

The fundamentals of marketing remain the same, with the aims still being to build your brand, create awareness, and encourage trial, repeat purchase, preference and advocacy.
So make sure your team has an excellent grounding in the old ways and an appetite to deliver them in new ways.
Sam Davies is a founder and director of Zoober Digital and a guest blogger on Econsultancy. Find him on TwitterGoogle+ or LinkedIn.

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