From small logistics companies to large marketing mammoths — everybody seems to be obsessed with ‘Big Data’. While some companies have dedicated teams working on deciphering trends and patterns from analysing of a mound of data, there are those who have gone supercilious by buying out data processing agencies altogether. The key thing to note here is that everybody is slowly warming up to big data.
What’s the fuzz all about?
Well, this sudden rush to seek out mathematicians and statisticians to analyse all that big data is pretty much in a bid to get ‘focused’. What all these companies are looking for, basically, is actionable data that can help them define more targeted strategies, and get maximum bang for every buck they spend on customer acquisition and business development.
In what I have observed, ‘Big Data’ is an enabler of opportunities. By leveraging big data companies not only stand a better chance to discover new business opportunities but also make better their existing choices.
Why you need to get on the Big Data bandwagon?
1. For predicting business implications accurately
It’s all in the name of efficiency — efficient use of various resources and money. With empirical data at hand, businesses are in a better position to outline strategies across functions. This means, that businesses, through use of predictive analysis, can institute objective and measurable goals across verticals, and control the level of impact of assumed consequences. A McKinsey report has said it aptly, “First, big data can unlock significant value by making information transparent and usable at much higher frequency.” Being able to confidently communicate actionable data is the key to good strategy formulation and decision making. This in turn allows a business to gauge probable implications rather precisely.
2. For the sake of precision marketing
When it comes to marketing, Big Data is the ultimate tool that CMOs need to get themselves hooked onto. Using relevant data, marketing professionals today can collect more accurate and detailed performance-related information regarding a campaign across media channels. This helps marketing teams in identifying what really works on a medium in relation to target customers, pick out inconsistencies in a campaign, evaluate sales outcomes relative to a campaign, and so on. Accurate data collected at the right points is the best kind of performance evaluation.
One key area from where data is being extensively harnessed is the digital marketing domain. Digital as a domain is highly analytical and data-oriented. It’s possibly the only medium transparent enough for tracking data and analysing patterns in a noticeable way. A data scientist with even a basic understanding of digital marketing can conjure up plenty of actionable insights by focusing on relevant data points. With digital marketing spends amounting to as much as 3% of total company revenues, it serves well to have on board a data scientist to accurately predict digital strategies.
3. For tracing actions to their accurate monetary implications
When it comes down to it, companies worry most about their bottom-line. And more often than not, it’s the marketing guys who are put to the cross to justify their spending. Marketing for long has been a perceptive activity, as much as one would try and argue otherwise. To be better able to answer where the budgeted money is showing results, data comes in handy. Data helps devise a measurable strategy; measured results are collected as new data, and this data serves as the foundation for the next big move.
Where to start collecting data?
All this talk of Big Data must have left you wondering where the heck one starts. It’s not really rocket science and you can easily start small. Data can be drawn from anywhere: from financials, sales records, customer feedback, digital activities and so on. The volume and variety of data is far-reaching. It’s simply a matter of picking one data centre and reading it from an analytical point of view. Here are few simple things you can do to develop data-orientation:
1. Incorporate research reports for formulating strategy
This is the most basic kind of data collection you can do. Big and small research firms regularly come out with interesting reports on how a particular domain is doing, what are the upcoming trends, and what could be possible implications of these trends, and things like that. Such kind of data really helps you stay ahead of the curve and come up with relevant strategies in a rather pro-active way.
2. Monitor you websites’ activities
If your business is looking to be digitally savvy, start by monitoring your website traffic to gauge user activity. Adopt Google Analytics to see how the website is doing SEO wise and if your web content needs tuning up in accordance to keyword trends. Evaluate your paid ads and see how the conversion rate is doing. In fact, there are many cool web applications, dashboards and reporting tools available that can help you monitor and collect an array of statistical digital marketing-related data with a lot of ease. These are very basic digital analytics you can (and should) delve into to understand how your web presence is being perceived and acted upon.
3. Evaluate your customer-facing communications
From newsletters, email marketing efforts to even social media — these resources provide excellent inputs when it comes to segmenting your target market more carefully. After all, these are the people who have pro-actively opted-in to receive your communication and are far better indicators of your demographic makeup than any research report.
These are just a few of things you can start with when it comes being data-pro. At the heart of it, you need to understand what kind of information is most relevant and useful to you and your business. You can start small, but even in taking that leap of faith, know that data — at the very least — helps you cultivate more productive outcomes. And that’s a good way to go.
Meeta Sharma is an independent writing and editing professional from digital marketing domain. Loves marketing and everything about it.
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