The Big Data Effect on Marketing

Big data, quite literally, is projected to be the next big thing. We're all about big data right now. Big Data is the ocean of data now available to businesses via the social web, machine data and transactional data. The big data varies in terms of volume (tons of it), velocity (collected at frequent intervals), and variety (different types of it). According to a BMO Capital Markets report, $50 Billion is what marketers are spending on Big Data and advanced analytics in the hopes of improving marketings impact on the business. Big’ misconception: Big data is not for the small guy Irrespective of the size of an enterprise, it always needs the leverage that data analytics (of the right data of course) can provide. For any size of business to stay competitive, its imperative to get a handle on its data because its counterparts are likely already doing the same with theirs. However, it is important to not get overwhelmed by large amounts of data, which can't be easily accessed or understood, much less utilized.

As new software increasingly allows for better collecting, analyzing and utilizing data correctly are going to excel faster than we have ever seen.How can marketers use big data analytics to their favor?1. Asking the right questions: Just like with Will Smith from I, Robot, the response, or the utility of it depends on the quality of the question. With the glut of data available with the businesses today, they have to be cautious not to get trapped in an endless analytics exercise. The right questions need to be asked right upfront, and the sight of the end goal should not be lost. For e.g., the right question to ask for an automotive company could be what is the marketing spend to revenue ratio in different zip codes for different models. This will lead them to fine tune their marketing dollars flow.2. Being creative with what you have: More data generally means more work for the analyst. However, it also means more opportunities for the business to model important factors like consumer behavior, allowing for more accurate views of opportunities and risks.

Most utility companies are like credit card companies they allow usage before getting paid. Such companies can set limits on these credit lines by creating risk models for low-income consumers through say, payment histories for other utilities or credit cards.3. Optimizing spend and impact across channels Even now, in the age of cookies and click-throughs, its not always easy to optimize spending allocations. Big data can take the guesswork out of this exercise, and provide precise, near real time inputs about the engagement / response of the target audience to your marketing / advertising endeavors. In Super Bowl XLVI big data was used to analyze the actual engagement of all the Super Bowl ads during the game. The traditional measure provided by USA Today AdMeter suggested that Coca-Cola had done rather poorly, yet when re-examined, the actual levels of consumer response and engagement Coca-Colas was top of the charts. 4. Keeping it simple: Too much information is overwhelming.  No one likes models and reports one needs a Ph.D. to decipher.

Big Data and advanced analytics help create some method in the madness by providing powerful yet simple, visual models for easy data manipulation and control.Big data is seemingly all-pervasive today. If used correctly, it can be used as a powerful business tool that adds a significant competitive edge. However, it is equally easy to get lost in the way and become overwhelmed by the data. Enterprises need to be creative and smart in their approach to this still evolving platform.

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