Most marketers are coming to terms with the notion that big data is more than a technology challenge, but an advantage for more effective marketing.
As long as marketing and advertising strategies have been deployed, professionals have always understood that by obtaining a better understanding of customer profiles and motivations, and evaluating the executed efforts, the more likely they will be able to strengthen a campaign.
So as a marketer, once you’ve exited the initial stages of figuring out how to collect big data, you are tasked with how to manage and measure data, and what that means to a business. To help navigate this new world of information, here are five things marketers need to know about managing and using big data.
1. Figure out how to store the data. Most importantly, before data is collected, you must decide where and how the data will be stored. This refers to both the format of the data and the physical place where it resides. Will the data be stored using cloud technology and be accessible from multiple locations? If not, will the data be stored locally and how will be backed up? Also, will data be encrypted? There are a variety of solutions for this overall challenge, so consider all the factors to make the best decision.
2. Determine what should be measured. Most of the time, customer data will be the foundation of what is collected and analyzed. Since there could be many data sets collected for subsets of customers, it’s important to figure out which data sets need to be evaluated and cross-tabulated. By determining this in the beginning, it will be much easier to match customer relationship data with predetermined metrics to create useable results.
3. Be sure your data is accurate. This may seem like a no-brainer, but too many times we put our full faith into the numbers sent in our direction. Just like with anything else, spot check some items in the data set to ensure the data is completely accurate. By spot-checking, you can be confident that the information you collected is the information you need, and it was calculated correctly. If the results seem slightly (or way) off, there might be a processing error that needs attention. Either way, be sure to check before passing the information along for analysis and/or ideation.
4. Understand how to communicate the data. As a marketer, once you have the data and the results, you will have to report to more than one audience. Be sure you completely understand the data and implications it supports, and figure out the best ways (could be data visualization tools) to present the data for complete consumption. This may require presenting the data in more than one form, but be sure all roads lead back to recommended actions. Which leads us to the next concept.
5. Understand and implement the action. After analyzing, fully understand the logic behind the recommendations and have the data (from various angles if possible) to support. Then, provide succinct, concise next steps that outline a plan of action with anticipated results. This is the application side of big data analytics, and what marketers need to do best!