From simple tasks such as storing transaction histories or firmographic data to more sophisticated jobs like putting together buyer personas and building comprehensive account-based marketing files from customer data across multiple platforms, database-driven marketing is changing the way B2B companies operate. To get a better understanding of how database services help you do business, it’s worth looking at marketing databases in the context of big data.
Data scientists define big data as meeting four requirements.
It may sound obvious, but big data is really big – bigger, in fact, than what can readily fit into even a genius data scientist’s head. Think about the number of stars in the Milky Way, the number of queries Google receives each year, or the number of data points collected about car buyers, and you have some idea of the volume a relational database can handle with the power of big data. In marketing terms, a few million names on a business email list are just the beginning of what database managers deal with. They also look at all the millions of data points connected to that primary information to produce a whole picture of behavioral, demographic, and firmographic identity not only for individual accounts but for aggregate tools such as customer personas.
A database has to process these mountains of data as quickly as if they were bite-sized. Marketing data flows into the system so rapidly that any bottlenecks in data entry could throttle down the whole operation, so marketing database managers set up ways to migrate and accurately catalog data rapidly. The pace with which a database handles queries and provides results also matters; true big data applications are as quick to export knowledge as they are to import it. Speed allows marketing databases to return results on A/B split testing, site traffic, and other essential analytics in real time.
The data that pours into a marketing database comes from a host of sources, not all of which follow uniform formatting. From automatically collected website data to self-entry subscription pages to buying records, data comes in many forms. Being able to handle data from multiple sources and make sense of them within a single database is another hallmark of big data. In marketing terms, the ability to handle variety is especially important because cross-channel data was once notoriously challenging to integrate and compare. Being able to turn varied data into actionable insights is one of the key roles your database management team fills.
How accurate is your data? How do you acquire it? What’s your process for verifying it? Veracity is an essential quality of data; without it, you can’t generate meaningful results. Data must be clean to be useful, so database services generally include data hygiene processes to ensure the information you have is clean and accurate.
The Fifth “V”
While the first four “V”s apply to data science in general, marketing also needs to consider another vital “V: value. Database marketing must pay dividends to make it a part of your revenue marketing program. Along with marketing automation technology, your database offers quantitative analyses of its own value. Analytics tell you precisely how much of a difference your data makes to your bottom line, giving you a concise answer to questions about how to prioritize marketing spend.
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