Why big data means big things for the future of marketing

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There has been a lot of hype and content generated about big data of late, but what does it really mean to people looking to push their business into people’s minds? How can they take advantage?

So the first thing to note is that big data is not solely dedicated to the world of IT. This is not something that IT managers and CIO’s alike can get excited about and then hide in their server rooms, never again to see the light of day. Big data is… well… big! According to a survey by eMarketer, nine out of every 10 executives see the failure to exploit the potential of information as lost revenue.

Let’s reflect on that for a second. Essentially they are saying that there is revenue to be had if you understand how to analyse the information that you have been collecting. Now where have we heard something similar before — oh yes, the first step in social media is to listen; to listen and analyse the situation to best understand how to engage.

The trick therefore is to see where the monetisation opportunity lies (yes, to answer your question, we have to monetize Everything — with a capital ‘E’).

According to the same eMarketer data from a survey that Oracle ran over March and April in North America, 60% of all respondents felt that their organisations were unable to crunch the numbers (as it were) and handle the data that was being collected. Essentially the data is being collected, but then it is just sitting there and not being used properly. It’s like seeing a fresh crisp bank note on the floor and not bending down to pick it up.

For crying out loud — pick it up!

So where is all the data (and admittedly there is a lot more data today than there was a few years ago) coming from? Well, chiefly it is coming from customer information operational data, and sales and marketing data rounding off the big three.

Customer information is all of the data that it out there on the internet from news sites to social networks and everything in between – data that is just waiting to be collected and mined.

Of all the executives surveyed, they cited a need to translate information into actionable insight as the greatest need over the next two years.

Now it is the actionable insights part that has me particularly excited; and that is really the crux of the matter. Actionable insights is where the rubber of big data meets the marketing road. It is time to remove the sometime blinkered thinking that marketing needs to concern itself with product only.

Marketing is about positioning your company as best as you possibly can to take advantage of the playing field in which you are engaged. Marketing is not just about making nice adverts and coming up with catch phrases and social media campaigns that “go viral”. Marketing is as much a science as it is an art; and when we are talking about science we are undoubtedly going to be talking about experiments and data analysis.

It is time for people to get serious about their data and experiment to ensure that you are using it to its full potential. It is time to take big data out of the server room and place it at the top of your business agenda. In short — big data for the win.

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