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How to approach ‘big data’ and gain richer insights

By Cayleigh Zambonini


Often considered a buzzword, big data can be described as the vast volume of structured and unstructured data which floods business daily. However, it is not the size of the data collection that counts, but rather what you choose to do with it. So, one could deduce that in-depth analysis of big data could lead to improved decision making and strategy? The answer simply put is ‘no’, but it does have the potential to do so.

By combining integrated marketing management strategy and data, marketing agencies can create a significant impact on client engagement and loyalty:

Client engagement
Apart from being able to tell who your customers are, data can assist in understanding customers’ location and peak visitation periods, what they want and how they want to engage with you.

Client retention and loyalty
In a modern world where options are aplenty, brand loyalty is king for a sustainable and scalable business. Data allows for derived insight into what influences client loyalty, as well as what promotes repeat purchases.

Marketing performance and optimisation
Time is money, therefore efficiency is king in the digital landscape. Data allows companies to deduce the optimum marketing spend through numerous channels while continuously improving campaigns and strategy through testing, measurement and analysis.

The three primary categorical types of big data in marketing are client/customer, operational and financial:

Client or customer data
In the client or customer category, key information includes behavioural, attitudinal and transactional metrics from primary sources such as campaigns, websites, point of sale, consumer surveys, social media, online communities and loyalty programmes.

Operational data
Characteristically comprises of impartial metrics that quantify the integrity of marketing processes relating to – marketing operations, resource allocation, asset management and budget controls.

Financial data
Usually contained in companies’ financial systems, this category may include sales, revenue, profits and other objective types that measure the financial health of the company.

After identifying the positives, it is also important to note the challenges and best practices related to marketing activities. The root cause of challenges arises from analytics systems not being aligned to the company’s data, processes and decisions.

The three primary challenges are:

Knowledge of what data to collect – it’s about collecting the right information, not the quantity.

Using the correct analysis tools – analytical user tools assist with the aggregation and analyses to derive key insights.

The capability of going from insight to impact –
It sounds simple enough, but this is why data scientists and analysts are in high demand. It’s the ability to take the raw information, organise it, analyse it, derive key insights and then use this to inform decision making.

Like it or not, data is a crucial element in the future of marketing and media, so keep the following in mind for best results:

Digging into big data can reveal further insights
Imagine a company’s data as an onion, with analysis you can peel away layers and delve deeper into your results for richer insights. Like an onion, these results can be further analysed revealing new layers each time.

Be sure to share insights with people on the ground
It’s great to collect critical insights and look impressive in a board room presentation, but it’s essential that these insights are shared with the people involved in company operations so they can understand the thinking behind new decisions and possibly add valuable input.

Take small steps before you leap
The sheer volume of information can seem overwhelming. Therefore it’s best to begin by concentrating on fewer significant objectives. It’s always important to start with asking “What is the desired outcome?”  Once that is known, it becomes possible to identify what you require. Once that is completed, progress on to your next objective and peel away at those layers.

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