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  • July 8, 2013

What Marketers Should Know About Big Data - and How to Put it to Use

Editor’s Note: Today’s blog post comes courtesy of Amanda Maksymiw, Content Marketing Manager at Lattice Engines, a company that delivers business applications to help marketing and sales predict and close their next customer. She is responsible for setting and managing the Lattice’s content marketing and social media strategies including creating, producing, and publishing engaging content. Throughout her career, she has advised and worked with several technology startups on their content strategies.

Big data is consistently the number one search term on Gartner.com and McKinsey & Company has billed big data as the next $100 billion opportunity. The business world is being transformed by big data as more and more companies seek actionable insights from the mountains of raw data that is all around us. So why are marketers still hesitant to tap into this incredible resource?

Realize the Marketing Potential in Big Data
In a recent Econsultancy study, respondents overwhelmingly said that they didn’t think that big data could have an impact on web analysis at all. Some freeform responses to the survey included, “adding more data to the pile to analyze will only lead to less insight, not more”, “not sure what big data means”, and “we have tons of data and sometimes it’s difficult to analyze”.

It’s easy to dismiss ‘big data’ as the latest marketing ploy from tech vendors. It only creates more work, right? Wrong. In a study from CSO Insights, 88% of sales and marketing leaders cited that they missed opportunities to inadequate information. In fact, marketers from companies like Amazon, GE, Netflix, and Birchbox are using insights from big data to deliver better personalization, product recommendations and enhanced customer experiences.

Determine How To Get Started
According to a study from The Economist Intelligence Unit, only 24% of marketers use data for actionable marketing insight. What’s more, in that same study almost 50% of marketers cited a lack of capacity to analyze big data.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of data available about your customers and prospects, and to get carried away with all of the possibilities of analyzing social media, web metrics, and more. Before considering how big data can help your marketing efforts, the right first step is to determine exactly which marketing questions you are looking to answer, such as:

  • How can we drive more awareness?

  • How can we boost conversions?

  • How can we reduce lead fatigue?

  • How can we retain more customers?

Put The Data To Use
An important step in driving value from big data is to cut through the hype and realize that you may be able to extract insights from an untapped database within your organization. You may have hidden insights buried in your CRM or marketing automation platform. Many marketing organizations have turned to lead scoring to bridge the gap between marketing-generated leads and sales — to cut down on the noise and highlight the prospects with the greatest likelihood of purchasing. While lead scoring does identify the best and worst leads, there is an immense amount of data available online that can be analyzed to determine buyer intent.

Instead of passing over leads once they reach a certain score or threshold, a big data strategy could help marketers make better decisions when it comes to lead scoring and identify which leads are most likely to purchase a company's products or services based on a set of inputs to improve upon existing lead scoring tactics.

Have you experimented with big data or used data in an interesting way to solve a marketing problem? I’d love to hear more about your experiences in the comments.

Click here to learn more about how big data and analytics helps drive modern marketing efficiency, and to download a blueprint worksheet to test your data strategy. 

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