Using big data for marketers

Technology naturally brings a lot of buzzwords and jargon along with it that tends to somewhat bamboozle those that aren’t completely au fait with it. Technology and digital marketing do go hand-in-hand, so it’s worth keeping an eye on trends and buzzwords.

Behind cloud computing, probably one the biggest buzzwords for the last few years has been big data, but what does it mean and can it be effectively used by the online marketeer?

Right … so what is Big Data

According to technology research house Gartner: “Big data is high-volume, high-velocity and high-variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing for enhanced insight and decision making.”

What that actually means is that big data refers to the sheer volume of data that can be collected through business intelligence and assets and using software to make sense of huge data sets, we can more effectively use it to target an audience.

The reason that big data has not really been accessible before recently is down to two main issues:

  • A lack of sufficiently qualified data scientists to carry out the job
  • A lack of enabling technology to make sense of the data, which often comes varying sources

Where does all this data come from?

We live in an increasing connected world, thanks to mobility and the speed at which technology moves forward. This means that every time you buy something using your card, use your mobile with location switched on, communicate through social and respond in various ways to the mediums we use, it creates information.

According to the Guardian, a recent survey found that 86% of all marketers believe that big data will transform the industry, and 62% said that it had changed the way that they carry out their job.

Brian Streich, marketing director at SiteHub, told the Guardian: “We see it as a contract with our customer. The more data that we can get on them, the better experience we can provide, Engagement is something that we look at, an experience that makes them want to browse more, want to interact with us more,” he said.

Personalising the online consumer experience

As many of you will already know, communication and providing a personalised experience to the customer is a very important aspect to today’s digital marketing. Whilst the consumer may worry about their privacy, it’s also a fact that campaigns such as personalised email (think Amazon) is considered to be a top tool. Couple this with social media engagement and finding a way to really connect with your audience in order to start a conversation and you’re onto a winner.

Increasingly sophisticated data collection

From Near Field Communicaton (NFC) devices and cards, to augmented reality apps that overlay information when you point a device such as a smartphone camera over it, gathering real-time data is becoming a real possibility for the marketer.

Lots of marketers are familiar with CMS and CRM software and it’s this and much more that can help to make sense of big data. The question then remains what you do with it, this can include:

  • Bringing data sets together in software packages such as the above
  • Understanding why you might need it and how it can be used
  • Delivery of communication to the correct audience

All of this can be disseminated in such a way as to ensure that the company is using the data sets in such a way to engage, create brand loyalty and essentially, drive sales. However, as with most things when it comes to business, it’s all in the planning.

If you want to utilise big data for your business then, it’s necessary to know why you want to collect large amounts of data, how it can benefit your business and what value it’s going to give to the customer.

Big data can be a great tool for targeting different demographics and using previous transactions to determine what might prompt the target audience on a personal level to buy another product, a little like remarketing can.

Big data is a big subject in tech and marketing alike and it pays to be well informed before making any decisions about collection. There are also of course privacy issues to consider and it’s wise to have any data collection that’s collected from a customer transparent so that they can opt in or out.