By Sacha Berlik, General Manager, Europe, DataXu
Big data has been a buzzword for some time now, but the volume, velocity, variety and variability of data are so great that marketers are in danger of being overwhelmed. At precisely the moment when real customer understanding seems so within reach, the avalanche of data makes it seem as far away as ever.
While companies make the right noises, many are squandering the data/insights that they have invested in capturing. Consider that, according to Gartner, enterprise data is expected to grow by 650% in the next five years, much of that from the increase in digital footprints created by consumers. It goes without saying that the failure to use this data correctly not only reduces ROI, but also puts companies at risk competitively.
The simple fact is this: companies that master the ability to manage their data and make fast, intelligent decisions will win. Those that don’t will fall behind and the gap between the two will only widen as budgets continue to migrate to the digital sector. Here are three reasons why marketers need to embrace big data:
1. It gives marketers the golden goose: measurement
A constant issue in digital marketing is measurement, both for the internal team and the external team who want to measure results.
Companies rightly want to be able to understand and analyse spend: how many conversions did it get? What was the rise in sales? etc. For a long time, this has been hard for agencies and in-house marketing teams to prove. However, thanks to changing consumer habits and the increasing adoption of mobile devices, consumers are leaving a visible digital trail of actions and responses to anything they consume. Properly analysed, data allows marketers to identify increasingly granular customer segments. The era of 1:1 marketing is really upon us.
This not only gives them the ROI to prove the campaign, but also gives them the best customer behaviour insights, enabling them to tweak and improve activities continually.
2. You can work in real time
Another benefit of effectively harnessing big data is the time advantage it can provide to smart companies. Competitive advantage has previously been weighted towards companies with the best supply chains, but in a world where the internet is the biggest, most effective demand tool devised, it is the companies that can detect demand and meet it the fastest that will enjoy increasing advantage.
Globalisation, technological innovation and internet connectivity has meant companies find themselves selling into a crowded marketplace more characterised by an abundance of choices and information, than yesteryear’s scarcity and opacity. Amid such abundance, finding and matching consumer demand via data analytics becomes a critical survival skill for the enterprise. And since demand detected earlier can be more profitable than demand identified at a later time, the company that can detect demand and satisfy it fastest will likely rise to the top.
3. It’s cost-effective!
Not only is budget moving towards digital marketing (and therefore, big data), but, by embracing big data, marketers can be cost-effective and efficient with their campaigns. Looking back at the previous points, you can see that much of the use of big data revolves around the ability of companies to gain deeper insight into campaign successes (and failures) and amend them accordingly. Therefore, it also means companies can save money – learning where to place content and getting the best price possible by acting in real-time.
Daunting though Big Data may seem, with the right systems in place to gather intelligence and break it down, businesses can convert it in to business success. This leaves me with only one final thing to say: the one thing marketers need to invest in: analysts to understand the data.