Every day, around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created, with 90% of its total being generated over the past two years. Information and figures come from everywhere on the web, from social media and online video to customer transactions and mobile GPS signals. This massive stream of information is known as 'big data'.
'Big Data' introduces both problems and opportunities for marketers, who have always focused on who the customer is and what it is that they're doing. And as web browsers progress in their ability to collect and store information, one thing is becoming increasing apparent: it's time to stop wasting advertising spend and get serious about data. Justify your use of data
The past 20 years have seen systems which track opens, click rates, unsubscribes and customer complaints, allowing marketers to understand basic customer behaviour. This limited data is then used to tweek existing marketing strategies and create personalised email campaigns - all in all, we haven't been doing a bad job.
But there are deeper questions which need to be asked. What are the reasons some campaigns didn't drive conversions? Which factors are better to target when creating personalised email campaigns?
With new technology continually on the rise, data is no longer just for the analysts but the marketers as well. Is everyone prepared? Move away from channel silos
Email marketing is one of the biggest influencers in consumer behaviour. However, there are other channels that play an equally important role.
Today, the average person could see an interactive Facebook campaign in their inbox and proceed to make a purchase on the company's website - that's three stops before a marketer sees any conversions. And while most marketers are aware of this 'new' type of purchase journey, most still have a single channel mentality and don't do sufficient research on new tools for measuring across channels. Improve metrics and understand stats
The basic system for measuring data remains important, but adopting a more in-depth approach to data analysis is becoming paramount.
It's a good idea to correlate a group analysis based on various marketing efforts over a period of time. Identify the key insights over multiple campaign lifetimes, rather than one purchase alone.
A marketer will have much less knowledge than someone with a PHD in data analysis and the concept of 'big data' may sound daunting. But if the basics of quants are learned, you can recognise which methods to use and how to interpret the results. Learn to speak the language so that advertising potential - and limitations - is understood. Look at others around you
Learn from companies that are using data and more advanced analytical approaches, instead of being indignant and labelling them as 'the competition'. There are a plethora of conferences and write ups which point out the drawbacks to consider, tools which can be used and what to expect from the results from marketing efforts.
Big data is more than just a matter of size but rather an opportunity to make your business more agile and to answer questions which couldn't be answered before.
Open the door to a digital world of possibilities and begin striving for the next plane of data expertise.
Rory Finlay, who leads the Global Consumer Products Practice for Egon Zehnder, says, "The marketer's challenge today is to figure out how to make the right offer to the right consumer at the right touch point, at exactly the right point in time. Increasingly, that is what it takes to win consumers' share of mind and ultimately pocket.