Having data and knowing how to use it are different things. The sheer growth in data collected has created vexing challenges, even for the technology companies that process the global transactions upon which much of the data is based.
According to IBM, humans create 2.5 quintillion bytes (that’s 2.5 (10 18 bytes) of data every day. In fact, 90 percent of the world’s data has been created in the last two years alone.
This information comes from all over, IBM says, encompassing sensors used to gather climate information, social media posts, cellphone GPS signals and online searches and purchases, among other data.
How can companies use all this intelligence to improve their marketing plans? The answer varies by the type and size of a business and the actual data it might have at hand.
For small businesses, using simple tools like a Google search engine and social media platforms are enough to help analyze and reach targeted audiences.
The variety and complexity of marketing with Big Data was explored by NgData, which asked 24 marketing experts to describe the single most effective way to leverage Big Data in their marketing strategies.
Linda Popky, president of the Silicon Valley-based strategic marketing firm Leverage2Market Associates, offered this response: “The problem today is not access to Big Data,” she said. “In fact we’re practically drowning in data! Marketers today need to do more than just collect and analyze data. They need to be clear as to how the availability of this data will impact their marketing strategies and initiatives.”
Jeremy Waite of the IBM’s Watson Marketing division says smart companies should focus on the following five “Vs” of dynamic data, then search for the technologies that best bring meaning to them:
- Volume: How much data should you be measuring?
- Variety: How many different kinds of data do you need and from how many channels, and how much is useful?
- Velocity: How fast is your customer data traveling?
- Veracity: Is your data accurate?
- Value: Capturing valuable data is important, but make sure that you’re creating more value for your customers than you’re capturing.
“Executives who make sense of the ‘5 V’s’ will find 2017 a good year to do business,” Waite said. “They’ll feel less overwhelmed and more optimistic about their business because they will be better informed. Think big, start small and scale fast.”
John Fleming, marketing director for WebTrends, makes the case for investing in technology to help gather and crunch data: With the right technology, you not only can gather more data, you also can extract it and feed into many layers of your marketing initiatives, from behavioral information to and from your mobile app to email and your corporate customer relationship management program.
“By bringing these different elements together, you will be one step closer to a single customer view, the Holy Grail for marketers,” he said.
In the next and final post in our digital marketing series, we will explore the promises and challenges of “future media,” including artificial intelligence and virtual reality.