Here’s the thing about data: it doesn’t lie. Data provides companies with hard and fast concrete information that can reveal exactly who their customers and clients are, and what they’re buying, viewing, and reading. Today, companies have a wealth of access to big data — huge, complex sets of raw data — and they’re using it to make strategic marketing decisions and create smarter marketing campaigns.
What is big data marketing?
It’s using and interpreting data in marketing strategies to improve customer experience. Marketers use big data to create successful campaigns and reassess their strategies.
There are tools marketers can use to access and analyze big data, but many marketing departments are hiring dedicated data analysts who can properly collect and interpret big data. Often, these professionals have data analytics or applied statistics master’s degrees — plus some marketing acumen — and know how to use analytics software like Hadoop and SAS to dive into the big data at a company’s fingertips, find patterns within it, and offer recommendations. They know how to figure out what data is meaningful and what isn’t.
How are marketers using big data for marketing?
There is a myriad of ways marketers can take big data and turn it into marketing success. Here are a few ways we see big data in marketing:
1.Figuring out what target customers want
Sure, a big part of marketing is getting someone’s attention, but once you have that, you’ve got to keep it. Sometimes, the very best way marketers can do that is by making sure they’re targeting the right customer with the right information.
Big data can reveal so much information about customers and what they want or how they behave: what they’re clicking on, what they’re searching for and adding to their carts, what emails they’re opening, and what emails they’re deleting. With this insight, marketers can determine what type of campaigns will keep customers interested and what they’re interested in hearing more about.
Data analysts and marketing professionals can use predictive analytics — using analyzed data to make predictions about future events — to create campaigns based on what a customer might like down the road. There’s also sentiment analysis — identifying and collecting opinions expressed in text — which is often used on social media. Those Facebook posts, Twitter responses, and Instagram comments tell marketers a lot about their customers and what they want.
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2.Creating more personalized marketing campaigns
Rather than blasting everyone with the same messaging, marketers can use big data to segment customers by interest and behavior and send them super-personalized messaging. Personalization is a great way to make a genuine connection with a customer and make them feel like a real person is talking to them.
Think about how Netflix successfully uses big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. They parse a customer’s browsing and viewing history and use that to create viewing recommendations that feel perfect. Marketers can do the same thing with data to craft personalized campaigns.
This personalization comes into play beyond direct-marketing campaigns. Marketers can use this data to increase consumer engagement and loyalty and figure out what type of content they should include on their websites. They can also figure out which device is best for targeting specific customers based on how they interact with a brand — a mobile device, computer, or app, for example.
3. Tracking operational metrics in-house
Big data isn’t limited to helping marketers and their campaigns — marketing departments can also collect data related to internal use, from tracking hours spent on a campaign to managing budgets. From this, marketers might find that a semi-successful campaign that was a huge undertaking may not have been worth it. Marketers can also use predictive analytics to determine how a campaign might perform and determine what resources should go into its execution.
How will big data analytics affect the future of marketing?
It’s clear that big data can be incredibly beneficial for marketers, but as more consumers become aware of the amount of personal data that’s collected about them, companies will need to be more transparent about what they’re gathering — and with permission, of course.
That said, there is still a ton of big data out there. According to a recent Forbes article, we create 2.5 million quintillion bytes of data a day. The key for marketers is finding quality data within the mountains of it. The best way to find meaningful data is by employing a data analyst or data scientist who knows how to use essential data analytics software and machine learning tools.
Individuals with a strong background in math that are interested in pursuing a career in marketing analytics can earn a master’s degree in applied statistics, which will teach them essential skills including advanced statistical methods, data analytics software tools, machine learning applications, data visualization techniques, and more. Online programs like the one offered by Michigan Technological University provide flexibility that allows marketers to study while still working full time.
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