What’s the difference between regular data and “big data”? This is a common and highly relevant question for all companies doing business online today.
“Big data” refers to the massive amounts of data that businesses typically collect from their own business processes and from their customers through different means. When leveraged intelligently, big data can reveal incredibly useful trends and patterns that can lead to huge improvements in a company’s various business strategies, including but not limited to, its marketing strategy.
Since NGDATA specializes in helping both business leaders and data-driven marketers leverage big data to improve their businesses, we wanted to learn more ways in which big data could be used to improve a business’ marketing strategy. More specifically, we wanted to discover tips from marketing experts on ways to use big data effectively within an overall marketing strategy. To do this, we asked 24 marketing experts to answer this question:
“What’s the single most effective way marketers can leverage big data in their marketing strategy”
We’ve collected and compiled their expert advice into this comprehensive guide on how to use big data in your marketing strategy. See what our experts said below:
Meet Our Panel of Marketing Experts:
Mark Harrington is Vice President of Marketing for Clutch, a leading Consumer Management provider, delivering innovative marketing and loyalty solutions to over 45 million consumers of premier brands like Crabtree & Evelyn, Citizen Watch, Elevation Burger, Frye Boots and Rawlings, to name a few. Previously he served strategic marketing roles for global leading brands like eBay, Citi and Pearson and pioneering startups like Half.com, Ecount and Infonautics. Mark is also co-author of two leading business books, “Social Business Intelligence: Reducing Risk, Building Brands & Driving Growth with Social Media” and “Avoiding #FAIL: Mitigating Risk, Managing Threats and Protecting the Corporation in the Age of Social Media”.
The most effective way marketers can leverage big data in their marketing strategy is…
By centralizing and synthesizing their fragmented customer data sources across their point-of-sale systems, ecommerce platforms, mobile applications and social accounts with advanced Consumer Management technology.
Integrating each of these customer data silos into a single, synthesized data set, delivers an unprecedented, holistic view of their customers based on their purchases, interactions and preferences. This, in turn, provides powerful intelligence to drive advanced segmentation, sophisticated personas and strategic, targeted campaigns to engage and motivate consumers. It also allows brands to identify and understand their Most Valuable Customers (MVCs) across a spectrum of dimensions beyond mere purchase value, allowing them to foster their brand affinity and cultivate their evangelism.
The key to achieving this is adopting a Consumer Management platform that can integrate with your current cross-channel consumer systems in order to streamline the data from your customers’ digital footprints.
This allows for rapid deployment and real-time time data insights to strategically respond as customer behaviors and activities shift. Although this is simple in concept and challenging in execution, many leading brands have already gained a powerful competitive advantage by adopting Consumer Management technology that allows them to understand and engage based on individual consumer preferences. This is a major step towards transforming the hype of big data into strategic reality.
Jason Parks is the owner of The Media Captain, a Columbus based digital marketing agency with a strong focus on SEO and SEM.
The most effective way marketers can leverage big data to optimize their marketing strategy is…
Marketers can place a re-targeting pixel on the backend of their website and implement a display re-targeting campaign.
This will serve branded advertisements to users who visit your site and drop off without converting. This is the single most effective way to generate a low cost per acquisition while targeting interested customers.
The strategy is essential for marketers because it takes all of the data on your site and allows for you to create an organized strategy to re-target to them at a low price point. It also greatly increases the awareness for your company when beautifully crafted advertisements are created.
Bryan Clayton is the CEO of GreenPal, which is best described as Uber for Lawn Care.
The single most effective way marketers can leverage big data in their marketing strategy is to…
Combine it with publicly available census data for marketing insights.
For example, in a recent campaign we ran in Nashville, TN , we ran pay-per-click (PPC) Adwords campaign with one ad targeting the entire metro Nashville area. The headline read ‘Local Lawn Pros in Nashville are a click away.’ and I thought the performance of the ad was good with a click through rate of over one percent and conversion rate of over 10 percent on the Nashville landing page but we needed to improve on it.
We thought, how can we make this more contextual and relevant to the viewer? Se we researched census data, looking at the average income and home values throughout the Nashville area.
We found that East Nashville, an up-and-coming neighborhood, was populated with more working class, and a creative class demographic and we hypothesized this customer segment would be price sensitive but still not want to cut their own lawns. So we segmented those zip codes and only ran a specific ad for them, with a headline ‘The Cheapest Lawn Mowing in Nashville. Lawn mowing from $20.’”
We then created a matching landing page. After running the ad for one month, on-page analytics proved the guess to be true. We saw over 200 percent lift in click through rate and and 30 percent lift in on-page conversion.
Studying the data your own business generates can tell you which of your online marketing campaigns works best. Do the ads appeal to your target market or another market altogether? The data may also point to completely new areas of customer interest.
Linda Popky is an award winning strategic marketing expert who is the President of Silicon Valley-based strategic marketing firm, Leverage2Market Associates. She is also the Author of the new book “Marketing Above the Noise: Achieve Strategic Advantage with Marketing that Matters”.
This is my advice when it comes to how marketers can leverage big data to optimize their marketing strategy…
The problem today is not access to Big Data. In fact, we’re practically drowning in data! Marketers today need to do more than just collect and analyze data.They need to be clear as to how the availability of this data will impact their marketing strategies and initiatives.
It’s important to remember that this is not about data, but about the decisions that can be made as a result of having this data. It’s important to be aware that capturing relevant data is necessary but not sufficient. The differentiator is how you will generate insights that will improve your decision making.
This means you need to be clear to start with on what you need to be looking for and how and where you will make changes in your marketing campaigns as a result of getting this information. Do you fully understand customer behavior? Are there opportunities for new products and services in areas that are not currently covered? Can you respond in a more timely fashion because of the data you now have available?
Finally, it’s important that you understand how the data fits together. Many organizations collect mounds and mounds of data on customers, for example, but it sits in disparate systems throughout the organization. Imagine the possibilities if this could be integrated into a holistic view of customer behavior and motivation.
Scott Klososky is a Principal at consulting firm, Future Point of View, and a former CEO of three successful tech startup companies who specializes in seeing beyond the horizon of how technology is changing the world. His unique perspectives on technology, business culture, and the future allow him to travel the globe as an international speaker, consultant, and author, publishing three titles to date and working with senior execs in organizations ranging from the Fortune 500 to universities, nonprofits, and countless professional associations and coalitions. Currently Scott is developing Crowdscribed, a new publishing model for a range of publication types generated by crowdsourcing. Learn more about Scott and his work at http://www.speakersoffice.com/speakers/scott-klososky/.
The most effective way marketers can leverage big data to optimize their marketing strategy is…
By growing the amount of fields that they gather on prospects and customers in order to further customize their communications and content with them.
The more personal and unique the digital relationship becomes, the more engagement marketers earn. In addition, by dramatically expanding the amount of fields that are gathered, their ability to improve analytics will expand.
Bhavesh Vaghela is Chief Marketing Officer at ResponseTap, a market leader in call-based marketing automation. With more than 15 years’ experience in Marketing IT Software and Services, Bhavesh has worked extensively across EMEA, APAC and North America.
The most effective way marketers can leverage online data is to…
Take it to phone call, creating an omnichannel experience for the customer as they move online to offline.
Data gained from online interaction – i.e. search queries, keywords, clicks, and impressions – can be leveraged in a number of ways.
Having access to a user’s previous search history means that the call can be routed to the agent best suited to dealing with that type of call (for example, if someone has been searching for Greek holidays on a travel website, the call can be routed to the agent who deals with Greece). That agent can then be fed more specific information about the caller, making them much more likely to deliver a sale.
Combining click-to-call with call tracking analytics makes it possible to see exactly where your best leads are coming from, meaning marketers can focus their efforts on these areas. Integrating click-to-call tracking with bid management software also means you can see which keywords lead to the most offline telephone conversions, giving you more data to adjust PPC and SEO campaigns and improve CTR on landing pages.
Craig Borowski is a Market Research Associate for CRM reviews and analysis firm, Software Advice.
The single most effective way marketers can leverage big data to increase revenue is to…
Use big data to match sales reps to ideal customers.
We came to realize this after some research we recently completed on using demographic big data to optimize customer service and tele-sales outcomes. We found that found big data analytics could be used to match the most qualified sales reps to target particular demographic segments to improve close rates and improve customer satisfaction.
Rachelle Van Soest
Rachelle Van Soest is co-owner and consumer research leader of recently formed advertising agency Immortology in Chapel Hill, N.C. Previously, she has led consumer research efforts for advertisers including Procter & Gamble, the Maryland State Lottery, Go RVing, Hobo International, AMF and Children’s National Medical Center, both as owner of Pulp Communications, Baltimore, and before that, as senior strategic planner at Eisner Communications, also Baltimore.
The most effective way marketers can leverage big data in their marketing strategy is…
To find the gaping holes between what consumers desire and what your competitors offer.
Big Data can yield profound insights into what consumers really want and need. Specifically, what you’re hunting for are actionable insights that you can fulfill better, more easily, or more inexpensively than your competitors can.
To do so, it’s of course important to know your own business inside and out, but to truly capitalize on Big Data’s power, you also need a deep knowledge of the competition’s capabilities and weaknesses. Otherwise, you simply can’t connect the dots and find the gems that will produce marketing gold.
Here’s an example: A client of ours, a consortium of no-frills student housing communities, was getting squashed by newer, bigger communities offering lavish amenities like full-service gyms, spas, pools, weekly socials and gourmet coffee. We wanted to find the one amenity our client could add that would drive up their occupancy rates.
In-depth research revealed that 90% of students wanted a pool and gym. Predictable, perhaps. But the surprise was that 75% desired to live in a quiet place where they could focus on their studies and gain a competitive edge over other students. Getting good grades, it turns out, is serious business for today’s students.
When we then compared top-level student desires (amenities, quiet study place, academic edge) to competitive messaging, a gaping hole emerged. Not one housing community was marketing to “The Academic” side of student life. All were marketing to “The Social/Party” side.
This led to a key differentiator in our client’s campaign. All marketing – from online to on-site – supported the idea that living in their communities is a “Smart Move.” They offered discounts to students with a 3.5 or higher GPA. Party rooms became study lounges, with chalkboards on the walls. Our client’s total number of communities went up 30% and their occupancy rates are above 95%.
Bottom line: Use big data to find the gaping holes between what consumers desire and what your competitors offer.
Al Ruggie is the Public Relations Director for 911 Restoration, an industry leading home restoration company.
To answer what is the most effective way marketers can leverage big data in their marketing strategy, here is how we use big data to rise to the top of the list when people search in google for a restoration company…
PPC and SEO currently generate 90% of our leads today. When we first started ten years ago, almost all of our leads were from yellow pages, word of mouth and management company accounts. A few years ago we incorporated a much more aggressive SEO campaign. This resulted in the cost of paid ads going down by 50% while the leads generated from the same price point went up by 30%-40% per service area.
Our sales of franchise branches and service areas increased in lockstep with our restructuring and new SEO and PPC campaigns to a tune of 37% over the previous year. All told, our branches can expect a 30% growth yearly when participating in our data driven marketing campaigns.
Tom Bukevicius is the CEO of Supero Media, a digital marketing firm in Chicagoland.
My tip for the most effective way marketers can leverage big data to optimize their marketing strategy is…
To use the 80/20 rule to prioritize focus areas: 80% of sales/leads will come from 20% of campaigns. Spend disproportionate amount of time on top 20% of your campaigns.
Chad McDonald is the President of Anabliss Design + Brand Strategy.
I believe the most effective way marketers can leverage big data in their marketing strategy is simple and it comes down to two things;
The right message, the right audience.
“Big Data” is a sexy buzzword a lot of people are throwing around these days, but many companies still don’t know what to do with it. The data may have gotten “bigger” but the quality is key. If the data has quality then the marketing execution can be that much more targeted. What seemed like an ocean can turn into a pond, but it all hinges on messaging. If you don’t take the time to get your message right then it will not matter how much the big data can enable you.
The single most effective way marketers can leverage big data to optimize their marketing strategy….use the data to know what your prospects biggest problems are and determine how to effectively communicate that you can solve their problems.
Deidre Woollard is the Head of Communications at Partners Trust Real Estate Brokerage & Acquisitions. She began her career in marketing, working on the advertising end of several magazines before embracing the internet. As the founding editor of Luxist.com (later part of AOL.com), she was part of the early trend for professional blogging before pivoting to embrace social media. As a real estate publicist at top luxury brokerages, she has achieved placement for agents and properties in Architectural Digest, The Hollywood Reporter, Wall Street Journal, Variety, Los Angeles Times, and more.
The most effective way to leverage big data in marketing is to…
Use it to fine tune both your offerings and your audience. It can answer questions regarding not just the basics of who is responding to your marketing but also can provide answers to larger questions such as what the market is looking for.
I work in real estate where we’ve always had a lot of big data regarding home sales. This data has been used in helping consumers effectively price their homes for sale. What big data is allowing us to do now is to view more refined search data on what people are searching for and why. For example, if we know that people who are doing a search are only looking at 2 or 3 photos, those first few photos should be the best ones. If we know more people search for homes that are between $1.5 and $2.9 million than search for homes that are $3 million and up, it might be a better strategy to price a home that was somewhere in between $2.9 million and $3 million, under $3 million to grab that search traffic.
Big data on a citywide level is also key. Here in Los Angeles, the LA Times has created a massive project called Mapping L.A. (http://maps.latimes.com/neighborhoods/) that shows detailed demographics on various neighborhoods. It’s a tremendous resource of big data that is free to all. This type of local big data can help marketers target certain areas or messages to best suit their consumers.
Todd Mumford is the CEO of Riverbed Marketing, a Vancouver based inbound marketing agency. He specializes in conversion rate optimization and lead nurturing through marketing automation strategies that drive results for client’s online ROI.
The most effective way marketers can leverage big data in their marketing strategy is…
By altering workflows and response patterns based on the data they are receiving, and analysis of the overall marketing output.
In this way, big data marketing automation provides more data to analyze and adapt to. This allows today’s marketer to quickly improve personalization and behavioural / predictive models based on buyer personas and segments.
Dusty Wunderlich is CEO of Bristlecone Holdings, a fintech company that is utilizing big data to build their business platform and make better business decisions.
When it comes to big data, there’s a really fine line between intimacy and creepiness. On the one hand, consumers love marketing that is personalized and intimate, and those kinds of campaigns are the ones that feature the highest rates of engagement. The single most effective way for marketers to optimize their strategies is…
To understand where, within their given industry and customer base, that line is.
Marketers need to employ strategies and tactics that utilize the information buried within big data sets and they need to push those strategies and tactics as far as they can go on the spectrum of intimacy, stopping just before the line that designates creepy.
Big data can tell marketers what types of subject lines are most effective for each individual user, what time of day they’re most likely to click on a link, and which friends they may be most likely to share it with. Because of the data, both consumers and marketers get what they want.
Michael Juba is a Content Marketing Strategist at EZSolution, a full-service design and marketing firm.
One really effective way marketers can leverage big data in their marketing strategy is something that I currently to at EZSolution…
I love to use Buzzsumo when brainstorming and trying to decide what piece of content has the biggest chance of going viral.
You can use Buzzsumo to search for a topic and find the most popular pieces of content determined by the amount of times they’ve been shared across social networks. You can search for content that has been popular in the past day, week, month or year and even determine if you want it to be a video, article or infographic.
This allows you to see what has already worked. Then you can take a different angle, or if you have something that can top that then go that route knowing that it has a good chance of being widely shared. Then you look at the backlinks using a service like Majestic of those popular pieces found on Buzzsumo and reach out to all of those places that had mentioned that piece.
Don MacLennan is Co-founder and CEO of Bluenose Analytics. Don is passionate about analytics and insights that lead to great products. He has held leadership roles in several subscription-based businesses, where he came to understand the importance of customer engagement and loyalty. He started Bluenose with the desire to help other vendors build great products and delight their customers.
When it comes to using big data for marketing strategy, technology vendors have to increasingly tailor their marketing for the entire lifecycle of their customer. To accomplish this, they should…
Integrate customer health and usage data into their lifecycle marketing.
For example, if your data tells you that a customer is a power user, you wouldn’t send them the walk-through information that’s aimed at beginning users. Instead, you’d guide them toward more advanced features or even see if they’re interested in some form of advocacy program.
Customer Success is a good department for Marketing to lean on because they have the pulse of the customer and know what’s working and what isn’t. There are a variety of tools which can give you better insight into the health of your customer and that can be integrated with your marketing automation platform of choice to reach every end user.
Tony Faustino is a Marketing and Corporate Strategist. He thinks and writes about how The Internet reinvents marketing strategy in his personal blog, Social Media ReInvention, and is a Digital Strategist with Creelio.com.
The single most effective way marketers can leverage big data to optimize their marketing strategy is to…
Calculate Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).
Many companies neglect their existing customers while spending more money
and time in acquiring new ones.
Amazon is an exceptional example as evidenced by The Wall Street Journal’s recent article about Amazon’s strategy to convert existing Amazon Non-Prime college student customers to Amazon Prime customers. They’re an excellent example of using CLV to identify and increase loyalty and “share of wallet” with current, younger customers. Here are some important notes from that article:
Amazon Prime customers spend $1,300 annually (roughly triple what a non-Prime customer spends). College students who become Amazon Prime customers become conditioned to the convenience and speed of Amazon’s service delivery.
As college graduates increasingly move to urban areas, they become excellent candidates for Amazon’s emerging services such as Amazon Fresh.
Furthermore, these young Amazon Prime customers are excellent brand advocates who write and utilize customer reviews. Amazon continues fine-tuning their recommendation algorithm to target customers whose spending patterns indicate they’re influenced by positive customer reviews.
David Ericksonis the VP of Online Marketing for Minneapolis public relations firm, Kawoski & Courage.
I think the single most effective way marketers can leverage big data is to…
Use the insights that big data analytics can provide to identify the communication channels and content and/or offer that result in the most converted value.
In an eCommerce scenario, that might be identifying which offer/channel combination results in converting an initial customer. Or might be simply identifying incremental improvements to an existing process (such as the shopping cart checkout process) that results in greater overall sales.
In a professional services scenario, it might be identifying what types of blog post produce the most profitable leads.
Jackson Riso is the Director of Marketing at TickPick, a no-fee secondary ticket marketplace.
When it comes to effective ways marketers can leverage big data for marketing strategy, I can tell you what has been an effective strategy for us at TickPick…
At TickPick, we’re using big data to understand which landing pages we *shouldn’t* optimize, despite their low-conversion rates.
Why would we do this? Because using big we’re able to understand how and when customers convert better than ever before. Using basic analytics, we could see that certain high-traffic landing pages of ours also have very high bounce rates.
Normally, this would have been a very bad thing, but using big data, we’re able to see that those visitors who bounce are coming back through other channels and are becoming some of our most profitable customers. In other words, the one counterintuitive way marketers can use big data is to understand where they should optimize their bounce rates and where they should optimize their bounce.
Allyson Kuper is a Consultant at Bug Insights, a recently launched marketing and human capital analytics company that provides prescriptive analytics to help organizations make better business decisions. Using fact-driven data, Bug Insights consults clients how to best optimize the return on their investments. Allyson is an experienced consultant who has spent a number of years supporting large-scale organizational effectiveness and employee research projects for Fortune 500 companies.
The single most effective way that marketers can leverage big data to optimize their marketing strategy is to…
Identify a specific problem and leverage the data to solve for that.
Often in the in the absence of a specific, stated problem, we end up attempting to boil the ocean with all of the data available. We spend significant time trying to draw conclusions from mountains of data, often to little avail and considerable frustration. A more effective and efficient way to use the data is to use it selectively rather than trying to analyze everything at once.
The process is simple: determine the problem you are trying to solve, hypothesize solutions, and use the data to either prove or disprove your theory. By articulating a specific and stated problem, you can begin to narrow your focus and identify an area of concentration. This direction allows you to start to hypothesize potential solutions and pinpoint the data that you need. Leverage the data to either prove – or disprove – your hypothesis, and then move on to the next problem.
This systematic and targeted approach is the most effective way to leverage big data in order to optimize a marketing strategy.
Shaun Jacobs is the Data Analytics Strategist for Phelps Agency, and is a seasoned marketing analyst with a strong background in media, social, site and creative analytics. From large global accounts to small, niche brands, he has been responsible for managing data and analytics tailored to each client’s needs. Shaun works across the Phelps client portfolio to identify opportunities for marketing enhancements and provide techniques to streamline data.
Having to pick the single most effective way of applying and leveraging big data, I would have to say it would be…
Take learning’s and apply them to test cases.
Every industry is different and the intended target will respond to the same approach in a completely different manner, so to make sure you can prove your hypothesis created by your big data stack you have to prove it.
Test cases take your big data information and apply them to real world scenarios to understand the potential lift in any change to your strategy. I say potential lift because you are able to take the findings on let’s say the five percent of users that you have tested and apply to the entire user base, giving your client an expected return on investment. This is the single most effective use of your big data in two specific ways.
The first is you will be able to prove the worth of your data in gold. Big data is just a plethora of information until you can apply insights and action, then it is a precious metal that all clients will want. When you can run a test against a smaller set of users you will be able to fine tune your response before exposing your entire base to this change, aim small miss small.
The second, yet just as important, is test cases will build a vast knowledge set that will make you not only a partner but a key stakeholder in your client’s performance. Bringing forward thinking ideas that yield better returns for your client will make your company look great and the changes you make have directly correlated and quantitative results.
Austin Paley is the Corporate Communications Marketing Manager of Blue Fountain Media, a full-service digital marketing agency that focuses on creative and results-driven solutions for companies online.
One great way marketers can leverage big data that can be incredibly effective for fostering business growth is to…
Tie lead-behavior data to customer behavior data as part of an effort to tailor marketing initiatives to better target users who are likely to become customers.
This concept, where multiple platforms work in conjunction with one another, helps you get the most useful data that you can apply to your marketing strategies and initiatives to effectively target your ideal audience.
By taking analytics one step further and continuously tying all pieces of your findings together throughout the entire sales funnel, you can generate the best approach for not just a general audience, but for the correct audience. Using tools like Bizible, Google Analytics, and Salesforce in combination with one another can provide unique, actionable results. You can see when a lead is generated and understand precise actions taken by a user while they are on your site. This gives you a better understanding of how qualified customers interact with your website, and can help you narrow in on that behavior instead of looking at it from a wider, more general standpoint.
Not everyone comes to your site and converts in the same manner, and sometimes a conversion that happens on a website isn’t going to matter to your business’ bottom line because it isn’t generating a new account or sale. This sort of approach allows you to really focus on quality leads, and tailor your marketing efforts to a specific audience, with the correct budget and the correct needs. By using all of these platforms together, you can start to better gauge what role each channel plays in finding the right audience and studying those behaviors so that you can hone in on the people that you need to target.
Ian Aronovich is the President and Co-founder of GovernmentAuctions.org, a site that compiles and provides information about government auctions of seized and surplus merchandise from all over the country.
The single most effective way marketers can leverage big data to optimize their marketing strategy is by…
Mining aggregate competitor data and using services such as Spyfu.
The beauty of SpyFu is that it exposes the search marketing formulas of your competitors and allows you to adapt to them. Spyfu also lets you search domains and see where they appear on Google, you can see every keyword that’s been purchased on Adwords and other PPC engines, every organic ranking, and even all the ad variations within the past 6 years. It is an indispensable tool that I highly recommend to marketers wanting to optimize their marketing strategy using big data.
Anna O’Toole is a Senior Digital Media Analyst for seoWorks.
When it comes to the most effective way marketers can leverage big data to optimize their marketing strategy, I would suggest…
Utilizing Google Trends data.
It’s very easy to quickly get lost in ‘big data’ and end up down the rabbit hole with a whole lot of theories but few action plans. Google Trends is one of the greatest tools to hit the digital arena and it is an incredible tool that puts trends and insights right at your fingertips. I, personally, like to use this knowledge to choose what not to focus on and find out what didn’t work for other companies. I think few things are more effective in focusing your marketing efforts than quickly and accurately crossing off what didn’t work for others.
Google Trends allows you to gather an astronomical amount of data without ever having to do the heavy lifting yourself. From here it’s about what you do with the data and how to leverage it for your personal business or marketing needs. Once you’ve honed in on what’s trending and relevant, then it becomes about accurately tracking and monitoring your new efforts. Make sure your Analytics has a clear and precise way to determine what is and isn’t working. E.g. an individual landing page for each separate call to action.
There’s an endless way to leverage big data, but with tools like Google Trends available to the masses, simply knowing how to use that information puts you one step ahead.
Data-Driven Solutions from NGDATA