Long gone are the days when marketing success would be heavily dependent on subjectivity, intuition and huge promotion budgets pushing out marketing messages in your face at all possible touch points. It is a completely different ball game today, and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that marketing as a whole has evolved towards being a completely customer-centric and data-driven activity today; and the most effective strategies, irrespective of industry verticals, aim to deliver personalized customer experiences. This has been possible only due to the advent of big data, to gain valuable insights into customer preferences.
So, what really is big data?
Most organizations today have systems in place to capture and store massive data points from their all their customer interactions from research, sales and marketing. This data can be structured, semi structured or unstructured and will likely continue to increase in size. It can get overwhelming to make sense of this increasingly dynamic information. Big data is a means to analyze and extract valuable information from these complex and interlinked sets of data, and observe patterns that can help guide decision making.
Put simply, big data is a means of processing large volumes of complex data sets to derive actionable insights. Given that the world is going digital, there is already much rich data available from earlier marketing activities, consumer behavior tracking, other databases and research, and it is now possible to paint an accurate picture for almost each consumer and create predictive models for future interactions. This could be used throughout the sales funnel, right from identifying the right consumer, to product design, marketing communication, demand forecasting as well as customer retention.
How can integrating big data into your digital marketing efforts help?
In today’s fragmented marketing landscape, one of the biggest challenges that marketers face is to engage with the right consumers at the right time with the right message. Here is where big data comes in – big data can not only help us understand customers better, it can also help us develop better strategies that are sure to give your business a competitive edge.
Being able to understand and predict consumer behavior accurately using various data based insights can indeed open up a whole new world of opportunities. Here are some of the ways you could use big data to bolster your digital marketing efforts:
- Data Visualization
Big Data makes it possible to make sense of the data, helping marketers recognize patterns, trends and problems, using different types of visual representation. This provides an easier way to understand what the data wants to say, and the different ways in which the data can be interlinked to mine new insights. Think of your social media analytics charts, or even the charts that you can find in Google Analytics, both of which are great examples of big data visualization.
- Consumer Insights
One of the key ways organizations can stay ahead of competition is by mining accurate consumer insights, and leveraging them in their business and marketing strategy. Why settle for ambiguous demographic and psychographic segmentation when you can get richer data for each of your consumers? Data such as what your consumer likes and what products he prefers, what he thinks about your company and preferred distribution channels or modes of interaction, repurchase patterns and more, can help you paint an accurate picture about consumer sentiments, and tweak your marketing initiatives accordingly.
- Predictive Analytics
Historical consumer data and current data can be combined to make fairly accurate predictions about their future behavior. For instance, which product are they more likely to buy and when, how much will they spend, which payment mode they will most likely use and so on. This could help you with forecasting demand for a specific product model in advance. You could also predict beforehand how your campaign might perform given certain parameters, or even when the demand curve for your product could go up or down. It is almost like having a looking glass into the future, which can help you segment and target your consumer groups accordingly, and design marketing initiatives that would better resonate with each segment.
- Customize Consumer Interactions
Once you are able to access latent consumer insights, it will also be possible to create customized online interactions with almost any consumer, based on data from your past interactions with them. Not only will this increase relevance, it will also likely increase engagement and ROI as well. Product recommendations from ecommerce sites, video recommendations on YouTube and Netflix are a case in point. This doesn’t stop at product recommendations. You could even customize your marketing communication in real time, based on past consumer interactions. For instance, you could send personalized emails or text messages based on their past purchases, life cycle stage, demographics and their internet search history, how they have spent their time on your website or mobile app and for that matter, even their response to your past marketing campaigns.
- Budget optimization
A thorough knowledge about whom to target, when to interact, what to say and where to say will make it easier to allocate your marketing budgets more effectively, and focus them on initiatives or consumer segments which are more likely to give you the results you want. This, when combined with data from which of your digital marketing channels are giving you higher CTRs and conversions is a recipe for success. Needless to say, this will also help to prevent budget spillage into areas by casting your marketing net too wide, or in the wrong sea! As you continue to use big data along with AI & ML, you will only get better at optimizing your marketing spends to a point where you will even be able to predict the results you can expect.
- Campaign Evaluation
With specific metrics for each of your multiple campaigns, it will become much easier to measure campaign performance. Unlike the days of yore when it wasn’t possible to accurately attribute campaign results, big data visualization can help one see precisely the ROI on each campaign, including but not limited to increase in sales, how each channel has contributed and even changes in consumer sentiment. This can be used as a blueprint to plan your future marketing campaigns.
As we would all agree, big data is transforming how marketing is done today, as it takes the guesswork out of what digital marketing initiatives will work. I would go on to say that the contribution of big data can only be limited by our imagination, because from where we stand today, the possibilities are truly endless.
Tips for Starting A Career In Big Data
The phrase “big data” is used to describe the immense amount of data that is available to today’s businesses. As one of the hottest buzzwords in the business world, this type of data can be used to give companies a competitive advantage, improving their chances of success. Although there is a tremendous amount of data out there, the real question is whether or not it is all valuable or usable.
Unfortunately, not all of the available data is useful for businesses. Part of the challenge is figuring out how to sort through the data to identify the valuable information and to eliminate the rest. Professionals who specialize in big data are tasked with doing just that. In the world of technology, jobs in big data are one of the fastest-growing sectors. Obtaining certification in big data from a reputable school or organization can help you get started on a lucrative career in this up-and-coming field.
Identifying Which Positions Are The Best Fit For Your Skills, Interests, And Personality
After you are trained in big data, you can enter the field in a variety of different roles. Whether you want to be an analyst, programmer, modeler, or salesperson, there are many career paths that you can take.
The tips below will help you get started in the field of big data so that you can build a rewarding long-term career:
1. Master the basics.
Understanding the fundamentals is extremely important before you begin studying big data. This includes mastering tools like SQL, Python, SPSS, SAS, and R. When researching or learning material like this, always use reputable sources. Otherwise, you could wind up studying incorrect information, which could leave you feeling frustrated.
2. Delve deeper into the field.
After you have a grasp of the basics, you can then dig a little bit deeper into the details. There are a couple of different ways that you can approach this. One option is to learn from a senior staff member in the field. The other option is to learn directly from a professional. In our opinion, going with the second option is best. Someone who is working in the field professionally understands exactly what information you need to know to succeed. Always make sure you learn from knowledgeable, reliable sources. That way, you can trust that the information you are learning is accurate and complete.
3. Keep an eye out for job openings or opportunities.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make is failing to identify opportunities in this fast-growing field. They are often closer than you might think. For instance, if you currently work for a company, they may be able to benefit from your knowledge of big data. Approaching a company that already knows your worth and trusts you is a great way to put your big data knowledge to work. Just about every modern business can benefit from the use of big data. Working with your current employer is a good way to try out your skills in the real world. If you deliver great results, it could lead to a lucrative career. The key is to always be on the lookout for new opportunities to put your skills to work.
4. Keep your portfolio up-to-date.
Every time you complete a new project in the field of big data, add it to your portfolio. As you apply for new jobs or opportunities, you can use this list to showcase your experience and knowledge. Don’t forget to add them to your CV, too alongside these other factors details in this post on resume tips for graduates. Keeping track of your experience will allow you to search for other opportunities outside of your current company. This can be a good thing if your company is not fully on board with the idea of using big data yet.
5. Join communities to keep learning.
Don’t rest on your laurels. Instead, continually work to expand your knowledge. A great way to do that is by joining communities that center around big data, both online and in the real world. Keep up with the latest articles and information, as well, so that you always know what is happening in the industry. Additionally, be open to constructive criticism since it provides you with an opportunity to learn from people who are more knowledgeable or experienced than you.
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