Big data is a rapidly growing trend that cannot be ignored. From IBM, we know that we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day, which is equivalent to 57.5 billion 32 GB iPads! To top it off, 90 per cent of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone(1).
With the mass adoption of social media and the rise of tracking technologies, we are no longer able to ignore the untapped potential of how brands can leverage these large amounts of data. There are obviously opportunities as we can see from the mashups(2) of different applications and Internet services to make life more effective and efficient for all of us.
Big data and new technologies pave the way forward for us as marketers, but before we jump onto the bandwagon of the big data trend, I would like to propose that we take a step back and look at our existing data. At XM, the analytics team has analysed and seen the common mistake that many organisations repeat when preparing report. This stems from trying to combine multiple data points from individual silos to make the best sense of the data. A common example in our field would be for teams to look at email marketing data, search engine marketing campaigns data, CRM data and web, app and mobile data. Looking at the plethora of data points, someone (a team hopefully) is then tasked to combine all the data together (oftentimes in excel) and try to make sense of what’s happening to their bottom line. Multiple data points have become a huge pain point for many because it is difficult and time consuming.
This is however, necessary and important because it allows us to form the big picture and see how each data point affect and influence another, and what impact they bring collectively to impacting the bottom-line, as well as other milestones we set and measure. We will be able to better segment our target audience and formulate a more focused marketing message based on the data. We can even go into one to one, relationship marketing if we can string all the data together to form a one-customer view; this is the holy grail of direct online marketing. In this day and age, it is possible to do all of the above. After all, if Target can understand that a girl is pregnant before her Dad does, we should all strive to be this laser focused on our data.
How do we automate and simplify data collation from multiple disparate sources so that we can focus on adding value by deriving insights from unified data, rather than spending precious time combining data on a weekly or monthly basis? At XM, we do this through coding via libraries of APIs for our clients and some of these are made readily available by our vendors. If you are on Adobe SiteCatalyst, an easy way to do this will be through the use of Adobe Genesis where you will be provided fuss-free integration without any technical coding required.
Whichever way you choose, integrating data and forming the big picture is no longer a choice, but a necessity. Collating and combining data effectively and efficiently forms the basis of quick data-driven decision-making.
Let’s look within before looking out.