Individual data points may not look like much to the casual observer. When millions of pieces of information come together, though, they have incredible power. Contact information, demographic details, and firmographic data add up quickly to create a coherent profile of your audience segment by segment, giving you a phenomenally clear picture of your leads, their needs, and the larger trends within your industry that influence your organization’s long-term success.
Seeing data in terms of individual details rather than looking at the bigger (much bigger) picture limits the scope of your information’s utility. To realize big returns on your data-driven investments, you need big data.
What Big Data Is
The term “big data” refers to more than just a large amount of information. It describes how that data is collected, stored, retrieved, and analyzed. Data scientists with IBM define big data in terms of four dimensions: volume, variety, velocity, and veracity.
The first dimension, volume, is straightforward; big data is big. We’re not just talking about a database of thousands or even millions of names but about the billions of data points that represent larger sets such as keyword searches on Google or transaction data from eBay.
Big data also comes from a wide range of sources and describes a large array of data types, which is why variety is a key characteristic. A comprehensive marketing database must be able to gather information from every marketing channel and put it into context with data streaming in from other channels.
Not only does a database have to do this, but it needs to do it in real time. Velocity, the third “V,” indicates how important it is for big data applications to process huge volumes of data nearly instantaneously. Marketing insights are only useful if they describe what’s happening now, not what might have happened six weeks ago.
How reliable is your information? Big data’s veracity is vital to generating valid, actionable results. You can also think of this “V” as verifiability.
How to Use It
Your marketing database management team can use big data applications for everything from redefining customer personas to scoring leads’ sales readiness to translating global shifts into local markets to implementing customer loyalty programs. Big data also streamlines leads’ movements through your sales funnel (remember that velocity is a key element of big data), allowing you to earn more revenue within a set time frame. You’re also able to see which of your marketing channels and content marketing programs have the biggest impact with an assist from big data for your marketing database. Services that know how to harness the full power of big data for marketing applications are now essential for competing in the modern digital marketplace.
Predictive and Potent
Just as meteorologists can now predict weather with increasing accuracy, marketers can now analyze data to get an increasingly clear image of nascent market trends. What goes into a market shift could encompass dozens of individual factors and billions of data points that need to be placed into context – in other words, precisely the kind of work big data processes are designed to handle.
Marketing automation technology that uses big-data-driven applications uses data on a massive scale to derive insight into the smallest scale: individual customer accounts. Account-based marketing aligns marketing and sales activity to engage your leads fully from the moment they enter your sales funnel to the time they make the decision to buy and beyond. For B2B marketers, ABM represents a shift in thought from starting at zero with each account and hand-nurturing leads to having a foundation of derived knowledge already in place so each new account gets customized service from the outset.
While big data’s helping you convert more leads into customers, it’s also performing another value-adding service by limiting the time you and your marketing team spend on dead-end campaigns or leads. By increasing efficiency and reducing wasted effort, you’re freeing more resources to invest in what works.
© Reach Marketing LLC 2016 All Rights Reserved.