Like it or not, big data is a reality marketing and other organizations are facing today and will face well into the future. According to the IBM Global Technology outlook, it is estimated that data growth will explode exponentially from 3,000 exabytes today to 9,000 exabytes by 2015.
(I had to look up the word exabyte!)
So what do marketers do about incorporating this new source of data? Where are the best use cases?
Sidenote: I’m going to be answering these questions at the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Nashville next week (May 21-23) on Tuesday at 12 p.m.
We are faced with a challenge – big data alone does not help us. We need ways to get value out of the data. The challenge is that traditional business analytics tools are not exactly suited to take advantage of big data. Analytics vendors are developing offerings in an attempt to keep up with the ever changing needs. With that said, we need to be thinking about where it fits in.
For me, the best use case is squarely in the camp of customer analytics. I love my data from the marketing automation system. It tells me a great deal about the patterns and behaviors my customers and prospects display but it only gives me a piece of the puzzle.
As I think about customer marketing initiatives, I need to be able to prevent customer defection (commonly known as “churn”). By leveraging unstructured data (call center notes, customer interactions, open-ended survey responses…) with internal structured data to detect & proactively mitigate factors that lead to defection, I can better design marketing programs to avoid that “aha moment” when customers realize they no longer want to do business and defect to a competitor. Conversely, applying the same approach can help marketers identify the “aha moment” which leads to improved customer loyalty.
So, is big data hype or is it really something we marketers can benefit from? If marketing organizations do several things, I believe it will improve marketing’s ability reach the target audience with more appropriate offers.
*Big Data platform: Do not look at big data as this mysterious beast that can solve world hunger! It should be considered an additional data source which can augment existing data sources such as CRM, ERP or marketing automation data. If you are a marketer, you should be connecting with your IT team to determine how to incorporate the “big stuff” into your existing data.
*Analytics: Do not forget the analytics! Discover, visualize and explore big data alongside traditional information to drive action and share your insights with others. Employ predictive analytics to identify patterns within the data leading to more accurate answers.
*Answers! Ultimately, it is what you do with the data versus the data itself! Use big data combined with traditional data sources to deliver more accurate answers by analyzing, predicting and automating decisions.
For more information:
**See all of IBM’s new big data capabilities, as well as new advancements in mobile, cloud and data visualization at IBM’s upcoming Business Analytics Virtual Launch (Tuesday, June 11)
**Read the whitepaper: Converting Big Data Hype in Big Value with Analytics