The Value of Data in Marketing and Business

The Harvard Business Review once called data analytics the sexiest career of the 21st century. If you're in business, you know why that's true. Big Data is driving decision-making across all aspects of corporate operations and nowhere is its impact felt more acutely than in sales and marketing. Here are some ways you can leverage the power of Big Data to improve the results of your marketing efforts.

Improved Customer Experience

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Consumers are bombarded with marketing content; unless your message is engaging, personalized, and highly relevant to the consumer, it will be tuned out or deleted. Today's successful businesses are turning to omnichannel marketing to create seamless and connected customer interactions across all devices and platforms and Big Data is the key to achieving it.

Using advanced analytics, marketing executives can identify which users are accessing content on which devices, what types of content they are consuming, where they are in the buying cycle, the products and services they are most interested in, and even exact customer locations, enabling them to create highly personalized and topical content. This approach delivers better results in terms of engagement, conversion, and brand loyalty.

Identifying New Opportunities

Combining data from an organization's customer relationship management platform with publicly available consumer data, analysts can often uncover new micro markets and new opportunities for growth. This requires moving away from historical data as a predictor of future growth and focusing on predictive analytics to find new target markets.

A chemical company, for example, analyzed market share in specific ZIP codes across various industry segments instead of gross sales by region as they had in the past. The company knew it had about 20 percent of the overall market for a particular product, but what they learned through micro market analysis was that in some ZIP codes, they had over 50 percent market share, while in others, they had less than 10 percent. This allowed them to specifically target new market areas ripe for growth.

More Accurate Attribution

Big Data helps marketing executives identify which marketing efforts drive conversions and sales so they can focus their efforts on the channels and campaigns that deliver results. In the past, marketers relied on an outmoded last-touch model for determining marketing attribution. This model ignores all the online and offline activities and decisions that led up to the conversion or sale.

Today, marketers have powerful attribution tools that enable incremental attribution across multiple channels such as search, display, social media, and email. Each touch point is analyzed and credited, giving marketers deep insight into which channels are performing. This enables more precise allocation of resources, ultimately leading to improved return on marketing investment.

Big Data's role in business and marketing is only expected to grow in the coming years. According to a study by IDG Enterprises in 2014, 53 percent of decision-makers were planning to implement or expand a data-driven project in 2015. Job growth in analytics is skyrocketing; demand for professionals with big data expertise was up almost 90 percent last year alone. Given its huge role in decision making and acquisition, it's no wonder analytics is the ticket to today's hottest jobs.

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