XL … Big Data to Smart Data: Fuel for the Future Marketer

Big Data will give marketers the tools to attract and retain each individual customer at the lowest cost, and manage the ongoing relationship at optimum levels of profitability.

The promise of Big Data is tempting for marketers, who are scrambling to infuse their existing processes with data to improve message targeting, better track performance of marketing investments, and anticipate new opportunities through predictive analytics. As the apocryphal client once remarked, “I know I’m wasting half my ad budget, but I don’t know which half.” Now, perhaps, we might be able to know.

But is that really the right question? After all, the purpose of collecting and analyzing all this information is not simply to know, but to act.

The immediate goal of marketers is to use this information to create personalized brand experiences—whether through better ad targeting or better service delivery—but ultimately it will enable companies to deliver personalized products and personalized pricing. At its endpoint, Big Data will give marketers the tools to establish the mode and level of engagement necessary to attract and retain each individual customer at the lowest cost, and manage the ongoing relationship at optimum levels of profitability.

  • Big Data’s greatest value to marketers is to provide the means to personalize customer experiences at scale.
  • Big Data’s value to marketers comes in the intersection of existing customer information from enterprise systems with social, search, location, and other emerging sources of online data.
  • The biggest challenges around Big Data among the marketing executives and technology professionals we talked to were organizational, managerial, talent-related, and cultural, not technological.
  • Among the reported technology challenges, the most troublesome involved integration and migration of legacy data into systems that enable real-time operation.
  • Privacy concerns arise from fears that data will be used to discriminate against or embarrass individuals. When data policies are based on anonymity, transparency, and fair value for consumers, objections diminish.
  • Future sources of Big Data include sensors, smart spaces, wearable devices, and biometric and medical equipment, which can fill in crucial context for everything from the business climate to individual transactions.

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