Key reasons why marketers should be looking at big data

Of all the new technologies and trends that are set to disrupt businesses over the common years, one of the most important as far as the marketing department will be concerned is the continuing adoption of big data among companies.

Although this can have a major impact on many aspects of how an organization does business, being able to target better promotions could be one of the most visible solutions for using data to boost a firm's performance. It was noted by Nelson Estrada, marketing and operations management analyst at MapR Technologies, in a piece for Smart Data Collective that there are several key ways in which these professionals can leverage big data that are likely to change the marketing landscape forever.

Principal among these is the ability to offer a much greater depth of personalization than in the past. It was noted that big data analytics now provide all businesses with the tools needed to achieve the dream of the big department stores of years gone by, which aimed to stand out from rivals by offering every customer an intimate buying experience.

Companies such as Amazon have led the way with this, taking advantages of sources such as wish lists, buying histories and browsing habits. "Amazon leverages analytics to reach out to customers by name with individualized product suggestions. Big data presents a big opportunity for marketers to create personalization strategies that get results," Mr Estrada stated.

Sources such as these can also be used to contribute to another key area of development – reductive and real-time analytics. In the past, the expert likened marketing to sitting in a rear-facing seat while travelling – the data available gave them a good idea of where they had been, but until recently, there was not enough information available to accurately predict future trends.

"Now, through external systems such as the web and social media, along with internal systems such as CRM and purchase histories, bottomless pools of data are now available for marketers to gain insights on current and future buying behaviors," Mr Estrada stated.

The actionable insights that can be gained from this data are likely to play an increasingly important role in driving sales of current offerings, as well as assisting businesses in the development of new and better products and services.

This is made possible through data-driven marketing, which Mr Estrada said has moved beyond an industry buzzword to become central to the strategies of many firms. He cited the impact of tools such as Hadoop, which are helping marketers make sense of massive amounts of information in real time.

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of the big data revolution – particularly for less-sizeable enterprises – is the way it helps level the playing field. Mr Estrada said that today's technologies mean that companies no longer need to have a sprawling, expensive IT infrastructure to support their analytics operations. Instead, even small organizations can utilize tools such as cloud computing to gain access to technologies and solutions that would previously have been far beyond their budget.