Big Data is rock’n the Marketer’s world. It is signalling a wake-up call that marketers need to be more metrics driven, more technically savvy and more process oriented. At the top of the food chain, CMOs are taking on responsibilities that traditionally belonged to CIOs. And at the middle management level, marketers are being required to be more technical and metrics oriented.
The days of just fishing for eyeballs or operating based on one’s gut instinct are long gone. It is no longer acceptable to just look at demographics or psychographics or just count eyeballs. Instead, marketers need to focus on the numbers — people’s tribes, their behaviors, their interests, their online behavior — both in terms of surfing the website or a mobile app or transacting with a page or shopping cart..
Most marketers would agree, however, that they are not prepared for the incoming Big Data wave: they lack resources, lack data know-how, and they don’t know how to get started.
According to a study from The Economist Intelligence Unit, only 24% of marketers use data for actionable marketing insight. Furthermore, in that same study almost 50% of marketers cited a lack of capacity to analyze big data. Some companies are increasing their budgets for Big Data analytics. The problem is that there’s no road map for getting these marketers up to speed.
Rather than focus on the bells and whistles (the technology) of big data, here’s are 7 steps a marketer a marketer can take to get out of their comfort zone and jump into the Big Data World:
- Understand the definition of Big Data, which is usually defined by the 3Vs:
- Volume or the amount of data involved
- Variety or to how the data is structured
- Velocity or the rate at which it is generated and analysed
- Subscribe to and learn from few key bloggers, who can teach you the ropes:
- SemAngel Blog by Gary Angel: Gary brings over twenty years of experience in decision support, CRM, and software development. Gary co-founded Semphonic and is the President and Chief Technology Officer. But don’t let the CTO title fool you. Gary is the the brightest consultant I have worked with and can take complex techn issues and break them down into easily digestible and understandable. chunks for markets
- Analytics Blog by Justin Cutron: Justin is currently the Analytics Advocate at Google, so he has a boatload of knowledge. In his blog, he breaks down digital analytics for businesses.
- Customer Analytics blog by the SAS’ companies – This blog is for anyone who is looking for ways to improve the business of marketing and communicating with customers, which includes everything from multi-level marketing to social media campaigns.
- Big Data Hub by IBM: This blog is filled with case studies, videos, etc. from key players at IBM and beyond.
- Business Analytics Blog by Tim Elliot: Tom is an Innovation Evangelist for SAP. This blog contains his personal views, thoughts, and opinions on business analytics.
- Get your organization big data ready:
- Tear down your organization’s silos and engage multiple departments
- Give team members homework — tell them to read the blogs mentioned above.
- Think about how you will link your current data infrastructure to your project (that means a business analyst, and IT guy, etc. should be involved in the meeting)
- Know and recognize that Big Data is a team sport
- Work with framework your organization agrees on, such as:
- Define Your Goal
- Understand your resources
- Review key segment’s Journey
- Confirm you are capturing data during each phase
- Establish benchmark
- Create a small measurable deliverable (test)
- Track over time
- Establish toll gate reviews
- Expand program
- Tweak your programs as needed
- Define the desired outcome and the one question you want to answer
- Yes, narrow it down to one (primary) question
- Answer the question and move on
- Understand your inputs by breaking down your customer(s) journey
- Identify the different sources of data, such as social network behavior, information from third party lists, mobile usage, downloads, etc.
- List out different types of potential metrics you could track:
- Information related specifically to the customers transactions (or actions)
- Information related to a segment’s usage patterns
- Information related to the overall marketing program
In some respects Big Data is just an extension of database marketing, a popular term in the 1980s and 1990s because it focuses on leveraging customer information to segment an audience and develop personalized campaigns. The biggest difference now is that we can leverage unstructured data (video for example) and implement just-in-time programs.
I am a big believer in learning by doing. If a Marketer really wants to be figure out how to integrate big data into their business processes, they need to have on-the-job training. (And to that point, I actually believe this is important for the CMO as well as the Business Analyst, although the latter might get more in the proverbial data weeds!). If marketers don’t do this, they will lose their admission ticket to be in the marketing world.