Why marketers need to get familiar with big data

Libby Margo in Marketing automation on 23rd of Jan 2019
Data driven automation marketing

Data driven automation marketing

Big data is one of those phrases that can instill fear in marketers like you and me. What’s probably more alarming is that big data is an area that’s expected to grow fast — in fact, some experts predict that 90% of all data stored was produced in the last two years alone.

Today, an effective marketing strategy requires data to be at its core. Marketers are expected to be well-versed in using analytics, segmentation, and the customer journey. Knowing your customer’s behavior is a given, but marketers are also expected to know how long their customers spend on their website, what content they would skim rather than absorb, and whether they are likely to purchase that mist finish wardrobe on California Closet.

And while we’re not expecting you to enroll in an MS in Data Science any time soon, a basic understanding of big data will go a long way to helping you become a better marketer.

What is big data?

Big data simply refers to the collection of large data sets. Typically, they are so large that you cannot process, analyze, mine or generate insights using a basic Excel spreadsheet.

Big data influences our everyday life. Every time you do something on your cell phone (such as take 53 selfies during a night out with your friends), this data is sent from your phone to other devices. This data is also being sent from your device to your cell phone manufacturer.

Data collection also happens at home. Smart thermostats and meters collect data about your electricity usage, sending them to your energy provider. When you jump on your computer, you may occasionally bang your head in frustration when an application quits unexpectedly, causing you to lose your work. A pop-up message will appear, asking if you’d like to send an error report — your feedback, if you choose to provide it, is then sent to developers.

Love to work out? Your health tracker monitors your every move (literally), encouraging you to set goals and sign up for fitness programs if you haven’t moved enough that day. And if you’ve chosen the couch over the running track, Netflix will collect data on shows you’ve watched this evening so it can recommend content for you the next time you decide to stay at home after work.

All this may sound scary, but now that you know that you can’t escape big data, you can use it to your advantage when developing marketing strategies.

Why should marketers care about big data?

Marketers need big data to make smart marketing decisions. Big data comes from a variety of sources, some private and some public. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to access every data set you want, but you can still obtain valuable insights into your customer’s world from the sources you have at your fingertips such as analytics dashboards.

Here are 3 reasons why your marketing team should be on board with big data:

1. Personalized content and Marketing Automation

If your content is useful and relevant, your customer will be interested. The key to creating such content is to gain valuable insights into your customers’ world so that you can discover what they’re interested in and what makes them tick. Big data makes this possible. A form on your website can capture what your customers are interested in, and website trackers can monitor what pages they click on and how long they spend reading each bit of content.

Naturally, all your customers won’t behave the same way — and you’re more likely to receive all your data in one big, messy chunk. Breaking down this data chunk into smaller clusters, however, will allow you to identify common trends and patterns; this process is called segmentation. By segmenting your customer data, you can then personalize your messages to communicate with your customers more effectively. Tools such as Segment and Smart Segments can make this easier for you.

2. Increased engagement

When you create personalized content, your customers will find your brand relevant and useful. Consequently, your customers will show their appreciation through increased engagement.

The higher the level of engagement, the more likely they are to trust your brand. Over time, this trust converts to purchase, loyalty and advocacy.

3. Continuous improvement

Your customers’ behaviors and actions change over time, so chances are your data set will too. Implementing a data-driven marketing strategy allows you to monitor these changes, identifying any shifts in patterns and using them to improve your campaigns. It can often be overwhelming to track all these changes and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly, but integrated marketing automation software like Autopilot will make that job easier for you.

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