Sep 14

What’s the Big Deal About Big Data?

Written By: Chelsey DeBalsi, Agency Marketing Manager at Digital Operative

Big data… so that means data that is bigger than regular data? Well, not exactly. The term “big data” refers to the rapidly increasing amount of data that technology has generated and that is now revolutionizing the digital world. Let’s take a minute to think about some of the data that we, as individuals, generate on a daily basis:

  • Posting a picture on Instagram
  • Checking into a location on Facebook
  • Using the GPS on your smartphone
  • Buying a new pair of shoes online
  • Googling a restaurant to read the reviews

All of these seemingly small and insignificant transactions contribute to something now known as “big data,” a concept that is leading to advancements in industries across the board, from agriculture to medicine to crime prevention, and that is transforming the world of digital marketing into a science backed by data, and not by instinct.

Big Data & Analytics

Big Data And Marketing

Big data doesn’t necessarily mean better marketing. What it does mean, however, is the potential for better marketing. If used correctly, big data allows marketers to be better informed, to make more knowledgeable decisions, and to be more strategic in the way we reach our target audience.

Three opportunities stand out when it comes to big data and marketing:

Customer Insights: With access to more data, comes the opportunity for more insights. By strategically profiling our ideal buyer personas, we can now tell not only where our customers are, but also what they want, when they want it, and how they want to receive information.

Metrics: It is now easier than ever to track the success of marketing campaigns, from online traffic patterns, to search engine page rankings, to reach and engagement, and more. With data at our fingertips, we can review and refine our marketing efforts over and over again, until we perfect the marketing mix that will optimize return on investment (ROI).

Sales/Revenue: With an increase in the volume and types of data available to us, comes an increase in the quality of sales leads, list accuracy, and research capabilities. By studying the sales cycle, we can nurture leads and target personas at the right stage with the right content.

So… in other words, marketing just got easier and more complicated at the same time. More data can lead to more insight and opportunity, but only if we understand how to use it in the right ways.

A Shift in The Way We Think

Big data provides us with more information about our target audience than ever before. But, when everyone is targeting the same consumers with the same tactics, how do you stand out from the crowd?

Specific to the ecommerce industry, a brand’s goal is often to attract a new visitor to their website and then convert them from a visitor to a customer. In the past, marketers may have used “batch and blast” email marketing to lure their customers online.

Big data provides us with a new opportunity that can lead to immeasurable results through customization: segmentation, or the ability to divide customers into segments based on purchase patters, interests, and demographics. Using this philosophy, marketers can target customer segments with:

  • Custom content specific to their interests and stage of the buyer’s journey
  • Product recommendations fed by purchase history
  • Personalized emails and ads based on social media likes and clicks
  • Targeted campaigns using demographics such as location, age, or gender

Personalization and segmentation are powerful tools that should change the way you’re thinking about marketing. It’s no longer ‘one size fits all’; we need to use big data to study our customers, develop our buyer personas, and then show them that we know who they are and have the products and services that they need, when they need them.

This influx of data presents an opportunity to create more targeted campaigns that can lead to better results. And, keep in mind that as we move forward in an increasingly digital world, the amount of data is only going to grow. So if big data is already such a big deal today, just imagine what it will be tomorrow.


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