Big data continues to provide exciting opportunities for small, medium and large businesses to optimise business spending and become more customer-centric. Many marketers and business leaders are already using data, but there are increasing pressures to go beyond the use of mere intuition and increase the use of data backed decision making across the business.
The key issue for marketers is about how clever we can get with the data. Big data means nothing if we cannot turn it in something of value such as unique actionable insights, optimized processes, fuel for personalisation, more responsive marketing and improved customer experiences.
Once the ‘right’ types of data is flowing in to your organisation people still have to make the connections to derive value. It is how you turn the data in to market intelligence and that intelligence in to actionable insights that really matters. But many marketers can get overwhelmed by the volume, velocity, variety and veracity of data to the point of temporary paralysis and the ineffective use of data.
8 Tips That Make Big Data a Little Smaller
Don’t collect data for data sake it will only get in the way
Make sure you are only collecting data that is relevant to achieving the business mission, long-term and short-term objectives. Plan ahead and consider scenarios to establish the parameters for data collection
Become familiar with the internal and external data already being collected
Look across your organization and understand the types of data that is already being collected, what types of data can be used, where it is stored and whether it is already being converted in to usable intelligence such as news and reports
Be clear and solely focus on the issue(s) you are trying to understand
Let the specific problem, trend, behaviors, or need be the guide instead of the data which could take you off the beaten track and lead to the perils of unnecessary data overload
Proceed with questions
Start by asking a simple question: what are you trying to figure out? For example, you may want to know how customers move through your sales funnel. Do they call first? Do they visit your website, then call? Where do customers originate from online? Let the data answer the who, what, where, when, why and how
Deconstruct the issue and start the solution with… why?
A good way to develop insights in to the root causes of particular issues so that you can develop creative solutions is to use Sakichi Toyoda’s simple 5 Whys technique. When an issue arises, simply keep asking the question “why” no fewer than 5 times and on each occasion look for answers that are grounded in fact and supported by data. Continue until you reach the underlying source of the problem, and until a robust counter-measure becomes clear
Consolidate, integrate and evaluate
It should be the goal for your IT infrastructure to support the growth of big data alongside analytic tools to analyse enormous, varied and rapidly changing datasets in a consolidated and integrated way. The technology will quickly aid analysis but it is for marketers / business leaders and their team(s) to earn their crust by interpreting and evaluating data in ways that extract the real value
Overlaying data to tighten things up
It is common for broad data sets to still be used in other areas of the business and via external advertising agencies. To improve returns on investment and increase marketing effectiveness it is important to share your insights both internally and externally. For client-side marketers working with advertising and creative agencies it is a relationship best viewed as a collaborative partnership to deliver your business objectives. A great way to align the specialist resources, capabilities and efforts of the agency with your business objectives is to overlay their broader data sets with your hard-earned insights to inform the brief, execution and ongoing development of your campaigns.
Communicate and collaborate to activate creative solutions
Share relevant market intelligence; invite feedback and solutions internally as part of the ongoing knowledge management process. Sweetspot insights and creative ideas can come from anywhere inside and outside of the room so just fuel the fire and help it burn
About the Author: Marvin Miller is a Marketing Management & Campaigns Specialist who works across multi channel marketing strategy, campaigns and marketing implementation. You can follow his daily updates via Twitter and join his professional network via LinkedIn