These five elements of big data analytics will help you make the smartest decisions for your business.
In today's hypercompetitive, real-time marketplace, where customers demand personalized solutions to their specific wants and needs, CMOs need a bird's-eye perspective to leverage their resources. And savvy leaders who know how to align departments and integrate consumer data can achieve operational efficiencies that lead to cohesive multi-platform messaging, meaningful customer engagement and greater profitability. But how can advocates of big data solutions earn the internal buy-in needed to streamline data collection and assessment and ensure that marketing communications are hitting the mark?
No matter how well you may understand the rewards of integrated strategy, explaining it to others throughout an organization and convincing them to rethink department boundaries can seem impossible. So consider the enormous value of something as simple as a shared vocabulary. Establishing some common terms for describing the challenges and opportunities related to data-driven marketing throughout your organization can help break down resistance and ensure your team is speaking the same language.
Here's a great place to start; it's what the guide calls the high five of big data analytics. The first four elements--volume, velocity, variety and veracity--are the brainchildren of Doug Laney, vice president of research, analytics and information management at Gartner. The fifth element, value, is vital for ensuring that objective analysis applies to the real world of business.
In the digital, sharable and feedback-friendly marketplace, the amount of information about customers that's available to decision makers is mind-boggling. In 2011, for instance, 1.8 zettabytes of data was generated globally. "That's roughly the equivalent of every U.S. citizen tweeting three times per minute for 26,976 years," Bob Boehnlein, general manager for marketing operations at Teradata Applications, pointed out in a 2012 blog post. Filtering the vital insights from this massive collection requires a new way of approaching strategic business operations.
Remember when communicating by fax seemed really fast? Well, it's a real-time world now, and customers as well as business leaders have quickly come to expect immediate responses and transactions around the clock. Delivering on this expectation for high velocity is a matter of survival for many companies and departments.
Marketing leaders receive customer data from traditional channels such as sales reports and marketing research studies, as well as from smartphone geo-placement programs, web behavior models, Facebook updates, Twitter feeds, credit card transactions and many other sources. Data warehousing programs and cloud computing are helping some companies manage the high variety of digital information, but businesses across the board need to find a way to gather and interpret cross-functional customer insights.
Trusting the data on which you're basing decisions is a fundamental requirement in all walks of life. But when the stakes of making the wrong call affect thousands of jobs and possibly even the survival of a company, the accuracy and reliability of information that's guiding big decisions is paramount. When business leaders know where information is coming from, as well as how and why it's being collected, they may more readily embrace integrated big data analytics.
The amount and variety of even the most credible and timely customer data can be crippling if analysts aren't honing in on the most important metrics and information. Getting the information you need to reach the right people with the right message at the right time and place is the name of the game. So try not to get distracted by everything that glitters in this era of big data analytics. Fundamentally, the important thing--now as it was in the past--is to use what you know about your customers to build strong one-on-one relationships to increase your value to each other.
For more information on the basic terminology and benefits of big data analytics to improve internal integration, download the free guide Be A Big Data Marketing Hero: An Enterprise Guide to Ruling Your Customer's World. Encourage colleagues throughout your organization to get up to speed on the basics of big data analytics and explore ways to coordinate efforts to achieve efficiencies and greater profitability.
AARON ADERS: Aaron is co-founder of DigitalRelevance™, a national leader in earned media and inbound marketing services. Building on more than a decade of Internet marketing experience, Aaron steers the strategic vision behind DigitalRelevance market research and collateral. @drelevance