by: Isha Edwards
Although business school graduates have been applying analytics to data sources for years, being able to help companies understand and use big data is now touted as an important skill for marketing professionals to gain.
Big data is so named because of the size and complexity of the information gathered. For perspective, consider that the deluge of content created, exchanged, curated, and archived on and offline, combined with content from blogs, discussion forums, and social networks, translates to 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day worldwide. The rate of human interaction alone ensures that big data analytics will surpass standard social media and website analytical tools that measure traffic, leads, and sales. Why?
Anyone can spot a trend, but can you anticipate one?
The key benefits of big data include being able to spot business trends, diagnose deficiencies in a marketing mix, improve marketing tactics, and even personalize consumer messages–automatically. Shifting to big data analytics will lead to dismissing the practice of counting fans, followers, mentions, replies, tweets/re-tweets, and website visits to determine value. Counting leads to valuations that are based on the size instead of the significance of the numbers. Using big data leads to customized systems that enable companies to assess their positioning on scales that differ from their competitors.
Yes, standard marketing analytics help marketers to understand the effectiveness of campaigns. However, using big data analytics allows marketers to identify how each initiative (email, website, social media, and other promotions) measure up. Big data also determines the true return on investment of marketing activities and helps marketers undergird business strategy and performance goals. CNN’s tech article, “How Obama’s Data Crunchers Helped Him Win,” is a concrete example of the effectiveness of big data.
Ease of use, the cost of retaining a data scientist or a team of scientists, and the shelf life of big data are primary drawbacks. However, the lesson learned from big data analytics is synthesizing information to determine targeting, messaging, and personalization. Using big data analytics will help companies make accurate decisions that positively impact the bottom line. It will also help distinguish products, companies, or individuals in an increasingly mass produced marketplace where personalization is preferred.
Since differentiating and turning leads into sales are primary outcomes of marketing, marketers should work to integrate big data analytics into planning.
Isha Edwards (Social Networking) – an idea catalyst for individuals and organizations across 12 industries including music, media, fashion, film, academia, professional services, nonprofit, and small business administration. Through EPiC Measures, Isha provides brand-driven marketing consulting and business development services. For more information on Isha Edwards go to www.ishaedwards.com.