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Understanding the Big Data Opportunity

Tim Burr

May 9, 2016
Tim Burr

There’s been a lot of talk about how Big Data is changing marketing. But these discussions can be so specific that the opportunity that Big Data provides gets lost.

The following is quick overview of that opportunity for marketers and their clients.

But first…

What is Big Data?

“Big Data” is a term to describe large data sets that can be analyzed in complex ways to reveal patterns.

Why is it called “Big Data” and not just “a database” or “database marketing”?

Big Data describes new capabilities provided by technology. Previously, databases had, by today’s terms, very limited capacity. They couldn’t handle multiple, continuous streams of data. Big Data describes systems that receive an enormous amount of data, from many sources, all the time. Databases also used to take quite a bit of time to compile and run back-end reporting. Big Data produces current and near-instantaneous reporting using much more sophisticated algorithms.

What does Big Data mean for you?

In short: Big Data can help you can make better decisions.

By adding Big Data capabilities to your marketing, you can:

  1. Know your customers better
  2. Identify more (and better) prospects
  3. Improve your marketing and sales
  4. Save money

Know Your Customers Better

If you’re just relying on your own CRM data, you’re only seeing how customers (and prospects) have interacted with you. Or, to put it another way, you’re viewing customers from the inside out. Big Data helps you see them from the outside in.

Predict, Princeton Partners’ technology partner, has compiled a database of over 360 million records. This database is constantly updated, using information from more than 150 sources such as census data, purchasing data, Google Analytics, and social media metrics.

Imagine plugging your CRM database into that system. Imagine the more complete view you’d have of your customers. You’d see not just how they’re interacting with you. You’d see how they’re interacting with the outside world.

You’d see what interests your customers have, where they like to shop, what websites they like to visit—any number of things. By knowing your customers better, you can reach and market to them better.

You can also find people who are like them.

Identify More (And Better) Prospects

Big Data gives you a wider universe of prospects and more ways to determine how potentially valuable they are.

By placing your customers in the wider context of the database, you can find lookalikes. You can identify correlations you might never have anticipated. You can create much more accurate segmentation. Where privacy is a concern, a Big Data provider can build an anonymizing wall between you and individuals while still providing the data you need to reach your targets.

You can then prioritize these newly-found prospects/segments based on how similar they are to your best customers or customer segments, creating a list of priority targets—all at the touch of a button.

Improve Your Marketing and Sales

Big Data correlations can serve as a guide for your marketing. They can also improve it.

Demographic and behavioral data can inform creative development. Better still, by plugging into a Big Data platform, you can perform sophisticated, precise and efficient creative testing—all within the same data environment as your newly-enriched CRM system.

With big data, sample sizes become larger. Segments become more defined. You can establish a feedback loop where you continually refine your messaging and how it’s delivered.

And when you have the right message for the right person at the right time, you can improve sales immensely.

Save Money

Better information. Better targeting. Better testing. Better understanding. Big Data helps you make better decisions so you eliminate the waste that comes from guess work.

Big Data is changing marketing, but it’s still a tool. When you combine it with marketing experience, skill and creativity, it provides an enormous opportunity for you and your clients.