What is Big Data? And How Will It Impact Consumer Marketing?
Within business circles and marketing, big data has become a buzzword of epic proportions. While data of all sorts, and it’s handling, has presented many challenges in recent times, there’s no doubt that it is having a significant impact on consumer marketing in particular.
But what exactly is big data?
It’s essentially very large data sets that can be used to reveal different patterns about human behaviour and other performance.
For example, let’s say you are collecting data on iPhone purchases in the UK. Those data sets can include things as simple as the age of people buying the phones, the gender, the types of apps they download, whether they buy outright or enter into a monthly HP contract and so on. All these bits of information help you build up general profiles and rules that can be applied to marketing.
A simple way this can done would be if your phone buyers were mostly under 30. That would mean you should perhaps target all your marketing budget at this demographic. Of course, nowadays marketing strategy is a lot more complex than this.
Businesses can use a variety of tools, including artificial intelligence, to bring together both internal (the customer) and external (big data) information to create detailed pictures of each consumer and allow marketing to be personalised to a high degree.
The impact on consumer marketing
Marketers have always collected large amounts of data. Many use a customer relations management (CRM) system to bring all that data together and keep it ordered. Up until now, however, the use of all this data has been largely rudimentary. Comparing how big data has transformed things is a little akin to comparing a market stall in Victorian London with today’s modern internet and all that it provides to businesses.
Big data can not only improve customer engagement and revenues. It can create better loyalty and repeat business and optimise marketing processes across the board. Like anything else in marketing, however, you still need to understand how to leverage all this information effectively.
The challenges that businesses face are simple but each highlight important:
- First, you have to know what data to gather. This can prove a little challenging because of the large (and still growing) amount of data out there.
- Second, you must have the right analytic tools to look at all that data properly. This is one area that businesses often don’t understand. There are a lot of choices out there right now and not all of them are perfect for analysing a specific set of data.
- Third, you need to be able to analyse that data and come out with the right insights. This is perhaps the most difficult part of the process but one which is vital to success.
- Finally, businesses need to use big data to move beyond simply executing marketing campaigns and understand how they can improve their relationship with consumers and make these more successful.
All this can be difficult for smaller businesses that don’t have the marketing infrastructure in place The good news is that third party providers are now more affordable and, as long as you pick the right partner, can deliver the deeper insights that your business needs. This also means that companies of all sizes can now access scalable services that will develop develop as their business grows.