Digital marketing is nothing if not flexible. Clients pivot, markets shift and audiences’ tastes and demands change faster than ever. The only way to stay competitive is to be better informed than everyone else, but the amount of available data is growing and processing it is not getting easier enough fast enough. This is why even a lot of people who recognize its potential and its value aren’t always prepared to try and actually tap into that potential.
If you are still on the fence regarding the adoption of big data analysis, here’s a short
breakdown of how and where you should collect your data, and why this is something that you should definitely consider.
Basics of Big Data Mining and Processing
In one of its cruder definitions, big data analytics involves observing large sets of data in the attempt to identify patterns and trends. But how do you gather that data, and how do you make it manageable?
Among other, main data sources include:
1. Public online information – traffic, weather or government reports, Wikipedia, etc.
2. Stored data – data others store in Hadoop or SQL repositories and make available to the public.
3. Online media files – you might need permission to use certain media, make sure you
check before you go scraping the entire internet.
4. Social media – not only are you able to observe the exact segments of your audience
that you are interested in, this kind of data just never stops pouring in
5. Sensor data – data gathered by different smart devices. IoT is coming, and is already
informing us how to help its expansion.
6. Machine recorded data – includes business process and application logs, as well as
mobile app usage details and helps with everything from marketing to UX improvements.
7. Business app data – logs and exports from your customer relationship, project
management, and process automation apps, as well as any other utility you may have
found a place for in your workflow.
So, the problem is obviously not finding the data, but managing it effectively. You might be able to handle the processing on your own, depending on your goals; amount and nature of the data available; whether it’s structured and easier to process, or unstructured and far more demanding; what kind of an infrastructure you have, both in terms of equipment and in terms of qualified workforce, etc.
However, most smaller business that could also stand to gain a lot from this simply don’t have the required capabilities. Fortunately for them, this gap in supply/demand has been promptly noticed and the top marketing analytics and big data companies have quickly started outsourcing their services to those who could benefit from these insights and don’t have the internal capabilities to reach them on their own.
Regardless of how you decide to go about this, there are plenty of ways to justify supporting your marketing efforts with big data analytics, and here are just some of them:
It is not Alone
Big data is a part of the near-future (and, to some extent, present) trifecta – Big data, AI, IoT.
The development of AI enormously enhances our data processing capabilities, while the
Internet of Things is already responsible for a huge portion of big data available, and its
contribution is only going to keep getting larger. The growth of the other two disciplines is inevitable and is only going to, at the same time, expedite and necessitate the growth of big data analytics, so you might want to start supporting this particular pony right from the very start of the race.
Research your Market and Discover New Ones
Solutions like Google analytics allow you some insight into the behavior of the visitors of your site. What if you had something similar, but it didn’t apply just to your site, but to your entire industry, and wasn’t describing just the behavior of your customers, but everybody’s? That’s kind of like what you are getting with big data analytics. You can follow the prices, demand and issues with a product or service you are promoting; use your data to keep track of competitors; and even identify new markets to expand into.
The world’s economy is globalizing, whether you like it or not. Once upon a time, it was enough to be the best blacksmith in the village, but now, when people have internet to find out about a better one just two villages over, and when they have the means to reach him there easily, they won’t settle for inferior plows anymore. In other words, you are competing with the whole world, and you can’t do this without heavy artillery.
Improve your Processes with Predictive Analysis
Nothing beats learning from the mistakes of others, but it would be a shame to let all of your mistakes go to waste, wouldn’t it? Predictive analysis allows you to create outcome simulations for particular events. For instance, if you have access to data of other companies going through the same process you are, you can use it to try and estimate your chances of success, considering the approach you took.
Naturally, having someone else’s data that completely corresponds to your current situation is an ideal case scenario, and you’ll have to make do with your own data much more often. This is why data monitoring is not your only concern in this process, but why data storage requires due attention as well.
What are your customers doing right now? Not on your site or social networks pages, but
generally. Big data allows you to find out. Not only can you sometimes get real-time insights into current consumer actions and trends, but you can also find volumes upon volumes of historical data that illustrates how their behavior has been changing over time. This way you can develop more informed and comprehensive future marketing campaigns, as well as track the performance of your currently active ones and modify them accordingly. Naturally, these real-time capabilities can be used to monitor all aspects of your market, not just customer-related ones, and allow you to promptly react to any alarming signals.
It Provides Amazing Content
Regardless of whether you’re doing marketing for yourself or a client, chances are you are relying on content marketing at least to some extent. Having access to big data and being able to process it adequately is one of the ways to ensure that your content is never stale. Apart from all the competitor and market research insights you can get this way, big data is directly providing you with all the material for engaging content that you will ever need. All you have to do is identify the interests of people you are writing for, isolate the ones that cannot be properly catered to without big data analytics, do your research, and present your audience with a well- researched study that they can’t find elsewhere and that answers all their questions. This establishes you (or your client) as an industry authority, increases your exposure, and even helps with customer retention.
Despite the numerous benefits of big data, like market and consumer research, predictive and preventive capabilities and real-time alerts, leveraging it within the scope of your marketing activities can be demanding. Larger companies may have the means to do this internally, but smaller businesses may want to start their adventure in these waters by hiring expert outside help, whether just for setup or as a full-service.
Regardless of your approach and the amount of time you’ll have to invest to incorporate this into your overall marketing strategy, there is no doubt that your efforts are going to be worth it in the end.
AUTHOR: MEAGHAN YORKE
Meaghan is a web designer who is also quite passionate about digital marketing. These days she is all about researching various IT related topics and collaborating with other bloggers.