Big data is a term that’s been bandied about for some years now and can no longer be considered a technology buzzword. Many have tried to define, then redefine and re-label it, mostly in an attempt to try to harness the term to apply it to their job. This has led to it being declared dead in some reports, but it’s really only the term that this has been applied to.
Data is extremely valuable to businesses and these days, consumers create an awful lot of it. This is due in part to social media, but also to the connected world, online shopping and more. The sheer amount of data generated can be overwhelming – so how do we make sense of it all?
Big data requires businesses to use software and to some extent hardware to make sense of it in real time. In order for it to be useful, it has to be processed in order to find patterns and predict certain outcomes. With regard to inbound marketing, this information can then be used to better target potential and existing customers with tailored marketing campaigns.
For example, say you’ve just run a campaign for a special promotion. It all goes well and you see a nice spike in traffic to your site as a result. You can see from your analytics program that a good proportion of the traffic has come from Facebook, so you can then re-imagine your campaign to further target these leads.
The above example is an extremely simplified one though. With marketing automation software, you can make further sense of the data in a more thorough and efficient manner. The volume of data that you’re looking at often means that this is a necessity these days, rather than a choice.
Marketing automation software makes sense of the data and arranges it into easily understood metrics that you can take action on. So you may be able to see that certain social media posts have boosted traffic or gained lots of engagement. The software can take the data and create meaning when it comes to lead nurturing and do it all without much intervention to you. This could mean that it will send a few automated but personalised emails to those that have been qualified as warm leads containing information which may convert them to a sale. There is a variety of platforms available, Search Engine Land has recently published a guide which may help you choose the right platform for your business.
Think Amazon. When you make a purchase, often within a day or so you will receive an email with offers that are targeted depending on your previous purchase. This is big data and marketing automation in action and it doesn’t just have to be applied to sales, it can be used at any point in the sales funnel.
It can also be integrated with other software systems such as your CRM in order for sales teams to gain a unique perspective of the customer.
Big data is powerful. Not only does it give you access to unprecedented amounts of information about your customers, it drives decisions within businesses and converts leads. The biggest issue most companies have with data is finding the correct people to interpret its trends and patterns in order to produce actionable insights.
Marketing automation software is without doubt a gift from the gods, but it still requires some human intervention which should be able to produce results. However, these days we’re all gaining more and more digital skills year-on-year, so it’s highly likely that we’ll continue to see data being used increasingly effectively for some time yet.
Coupled with inbound marketing, there is less irritation to the consumer (sales pitches that they don’t want) and more opportunity for business to target the right customers – those who will buy.
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