Bigger does not always mean better, and that holds true for big data marketing as well.
Today’s big data is a treasure-trove of information from the internet, and with the use of software or an engineering department to coordinate the data, it is then analyzed to determine patterns, trends and business behavior. It can be an important part of a business’s success or failure.
The technology consulting firm Capegemini interviewed 1,000 diverse companies to determine the benefits of big data marketing, and found some serious assets for those who use it:
- Data makes businesses more efficient. Marketers don’t have to guess what works and what doesn’t, and CEOs don’t waste assets on those things that don’t work.
- Data can help existing businesses expand. Using data to see what other companies need, based on search activity and other intel, can allow a business to add to its offerings to fill a missing void.
- Data can help track new sources of revenue. Big data allows your company to track the online activity of other businesses to more effectively target them as clients. Data helps determine prospect needs almost instantly, because you can see what they are researching and gain insight into technologies they already use, making it easier to add them to your business portfolio.
- Data can help convert prospects into long-term clients. There’s a reason why parents tell teens not to post things they wouldn’t want the world to see on Facebook. The internet puts a wealth of information at our fingertips, giving businesses an intimate look at their client base, allowing them to establish relationships based on knowledge and trust.
But big data can only be successful if you use it properly.
Data is an important part of the process, even though the business analytics company SAS, Inc. describes big data as “a term that describes the large volume of data — both structured and unstructured — that inundates a business on a day-to-day basis.”
The compilation of data may seem overwhelming, like wading through a Grand Canyon filled with quicksand.
Hiring a team of engineers to sort through all the data is one solution. Another is selecting an account-based marketing platform to make the data easy to navigate and use. Having access to intent signal® data is an edge more and more B2B companies need to determine how to create and target marketing assets such as whitepapers, diverse content, blog posts, social media and emails wisely, ensuring the right content reaches people who are ready to buy.
Although creativity is the grab, data is equally important because it lets you know just who those prospects are, helping you to refine your personas and giving you an essential sense of direction that you can use to guide future marketing decisions.
“If you’re deciding whether to use big data or not, the question you need to ask yourself is, ‘Without the relevant information at my disposal, how do I know if my marketing campaigns will be worth the expense and effort?’
“Without big data, it would be like steering your ship through an ocean without any navigational instrument. You have no destination or route to follow. You’re not sailing; you’re lost,” wrote Matt Lloyd, CEO and founder of MOBE, a training source for small businesses and entrepreneurs. “You’ll save your company and your creative team, who with no doubt spend hours crafting catchy content, a lot of time once you know why your product is sought after by customers and how it impacts them.”
Big data tells you that by giving your company a big picture, a storyboard that determines your strongest customer base, allowing you to better target them with marketing that matches how they use your product or service.
Big Data Marketing: What You Need to Know
YOU DON’T NEED THE BEST; YOU JUST NEED TO USE WHAT YOU HAVE WISELY.
As big data technology grows, there will always be new companies with new algorithms but even the latest, most high-tech system for gathering information won’t be the determining factor in whether or not your business is a failure or a success.
What matters most is knowing how to take the near real-time information big data can provide, and use it in the smartest way possible. If you’re a large company, you can be using high-end analytics to gather intelligence about your target market, and you probably think that puts you at the top of your game. But if your sales and marketing departments aren’t working together to make smart use of those numbers, a smaller competitor that has access to the same data but takes the time to read the data properly can slip past you and win your coveted accounts.
Making the best use of data will not only impact the future of your business, it can essentially determine if your business has a future.
BIG DATA ANALYTICS WILL NEVER REPLACE CREATIVITY.
Data tells you a story, and the information you gather through that story is significant. You can learn what a company is interested right now, based simply on its online movements compared to a baseline of activity.
This insight is an important part of the puzzle, to be sure, but it’s not the entire thing. Look at big data as the pieces that make up the frame, and marketing as the pieces that bring the picture to life. Data offers a steady stream of near real-time information that marketers can then use to craft marketing campaigns aimed to meet their needs.
Data is undeniably an invaluable asset, but it cannot take the place of a creative marketing department that can use that data as clues to show them how to strategically market to each company on an individual basis. While many companies will tell you creatives are a dime a dozen, they’re wrong, and if they fall for the idea and devote fewer or lower quality assets to the creative process, they will no doubt fail. (The newspaper industry is a prime example of this. In the past decade, many newspapers looked at their data, and saw that both sales revenue and subscription numbers were falling. Most maintained a strong sales force, but scaled back on newsrooms, decimating their product. Without creatives, products stumbled in spite of a top-notch sales staff.)
In the movie “The Wizard of Oz,” the Wicked Witch of the West had the power to know exactly when Dorothy and her friends were traveling through the poppy field on their way to Oz, much like big data knows when businesses are considering making a purchase. Because of that knowledge, the Wicked Witch knew exactly when to cast her spell to put them to sleep, giving her a chance to grab those coveted ruby slippers. But the Witch missed her window of opportunity because of Glinda the Good Witch, swept in and woke them up, much like a competitor who read data clues faster and swept in to make the sale.
Taking advantage of the window of opportunity that big data offers is critical, because data is what shows you that a company has done its research and is ready to buy. In business, missed opportunity means that another company is more likely to make the sale.
Data also allows you to be prepared.
Using data in a smart way is essential, as important to the process as sales and marketing working in tandem to make things work.
If data shows that a customer the company covets is searching for their product or service, both marketing and sales teams have to be on point in order to make the sale.
Marketers have to have a prepared campaign targeted directly toward that company – showing exactly how you can save them time and money, so the sales team can be armed with intelligent information when they make their pitch – exactly when the potential client is ready to hear it. Misusing the information at hand means a missed opportunity for the sales department, and a waste of invaluable data.
BIG DATA WILL ALWAYS BE ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO GAIN INSIGHT INTO NOT ONLY YOUR OWN BUSINESS, BUT ALSO THE REST OF THE MARKET.
The information big data provides almost instantly gives marketers an edge, because it zeroes in on exactly who is looking at your product and/or service.
That information allows a company’s marketing department to deliver highly personalized customer experiences, no matter what channel or device they are using to view content, and helps marketing and sales teams work together to help meet the company’s sales goals without wasting valuable assets in the process.
The Future of Big Data Marketing
So in the end, will it all make a difference? In a single word, yes. Big data is poised to change the entire way businesses approach sales and marketing.
Manufacturing, health care, the automotive industry, banking and finance and retail are all looking at big data either now or in the future, although some are moving a bit more slowly than others to make the move.
According to research by SAS, Inc., 64 percent of companies believe big data is changing the way business operates by breaking down traditional boundaries, creating relationships without personal interaction that are ultimately just as intimate.
Another 58 percent are expecting big data to generate major competition from startups that are already well versed in the technology, making it a smart strategy to implement before the new kids on the block beat you to the punch.