As the marketing landscape continues to shift and lean towards digital executions, the place of data cannot be discarded.
Over the past few weeks, we have put out a series of thought leadership centered around data. Everything from how it can be cleaned up for better management to implementing data-driven approaches in marketing was covered.
Marketers need to be well-positioned to keep making the transitions as marketing shifts from being an art to a science. To do so will be embracing the key technologies driving big data – which also provides the right squeeze point to get a better handle on data management.
The Impact of Big Data on Today’s Marketing
About a decade ago, big data emerged as one of those buzzwords we often so come across in marketing.
If you have also been in the niche for some time, you will agree that not all shiny new things in marketing should be given the time of day. At that time when big data first made the press, we would have dismissed it as one of those shiny new things in marketing too.
Fast forward to a decade down the line and it has become one of the biggest precursors for marketing success.
The importance of big data is not in what it can do alone. It is in the untapped possibilities that it brings to the table, even after offering us so much already.
As of the time of this writing, marketers are leveraging big data to:
- Uncover new consumer shopping habits and trends
- Craft a unique marketing experience for each consumer (under personalized marketing)
- Optimize funnels and other sales processes for better conversions
- Understand the target market so well, products can be created for them before they ever ask for it
- Predict seasonal changes in supply chains, effectively pre-empting a lack of inventory or case of overstocking
- Real-time data monitoring and analytics and so much more
Data analysts and marketers are digging deeper into the various sources of big data on hand to uncover more ways to get the best out of this buzzword.
With every passing year, there is a promise of big data being able to do much better.
Data collected over a long period has a better predictive value than those collected in a short timeframe. Thus, a 10-year old, running database can throw up more trusted patterns and suggestions than a one-year-old alternative. Hence, the data will only get bigger,
As the data expansion happens, we should not turn a blind eye to the technologies that are making that happen.
The Technologies to Look Out For
By no means are these picks of ours the only drivers of growth in the big data industry. These picks have, however, stood the test of time and practicality. The latter shows us that they will still be here for years to come. In other words, they are not just buzzwords we shouldn’t be concerning ourselves with.
1. Voice Search
The growth of the voice search market is down to one thing: search.
The product that is being offered here is search. As a marketer, you have undoubtedly had your share of search engine optimization sessions too. After all, 68% of all online experiences start with a search.
Since your target audience already likes the first product, the aim is to keep bettering that product. This is where voice search comes in.
Putting it that way, you should see the benefits of voice search already.
Virtual assistants – like Siri for iOS and Google Assistant for Android – are making their way into more hands. They are also consistently and continually upgraded to serve their users better. These two juggernauts, as well as other players in the market, won’t slow down. It is only wise that you tap into the market they are creating and all the data being generated from there.
If you need more convincing, remember that 40% of adults use voice search daily . Close to 50% of people are also outrightly researching new products using voice search alone. The voice search market is not even close to its peak yet and we have such data going into the system.
The faster you key into such technologies to understand the changing consumer needs, the better. That way, you can tailor your products and offerings to provide better value when invoked via voice search.
2. Artificial Intelligence
The place of AI here is not like the other pieces of technology on this list.
In short, AI exists in this capacity because big data needs someone, or something, to process it.
Mapping out unique trends and patterns from data spanning several years is not an easy task for any human. The very fact that users were generating an alarming 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day as of 2018 makes that task even more daunting.
There needs to be a way to stay on top of data already in the system while not losing track of that data coming in. AI builds that bridge for us.
Artificial intelligence has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years. That is not the good news. There is still a lot of room for AI to grow – getting better, faster, and more efficient in data analytics and results generation.
The better AI gets, the better decisions marketers can make from their big data. In time, marketers will start getting insights that they never thought possible, all from resting on the power of AI.
Unfortunately, a lot of marketers are still leaving a lot of money on the table by not investing in AI right. This could mean any of three things:
- Not getting the right talent for the job
- Not investing in the right AI for the job
The demand for AI will keep growing and the top talents will keep getting snagged up faster than you can blink. Now is the time to integrate AI into your digital marketing processes too.
That affords you the time to learn from your processes, optimize your systems to drive better internal growth, and keep up with the pace. Lest you get left in the dust of your competition.
3. Multi-Touch Attribution
It is no longer enough to know that an overall campaign is converting.
Any marketing campaign worth its salt will have different faces and sections to it. All of those sections – usually stages in a funnel – will contribute to the ultimate goal of getting a conversion/ making a sale.
Marketers have long optimized the entire funnel and campaign for success. Leveraging the data obtained from multi-touch attribution, they can decide what specific actions and impressions hold more weight on the conversion process.
This technology tracks user actions, touchpoints, clicks, and impressions that led to a conversion. It also ranks the order in which such actions were performed.
Such data is instrumental in fine-tuning existing campaigns for better conversions. It also informs what should be cut out and/ left in future campaigns for optimal ROI.
Right now, multi-touch attribution data is only available on a few platforms. We expect that it grows to social media networks, a broader ad network, and more platforms than it is currently deployed on. Even where it has already been deployed, there is still room for improvement for a guarantee of better results from such attributions.
4. Cloud Technology
The emerging nature of cloud technology around big data is almost like the place of AI too.
This piece of tech is not necessary there to contribute to getting more data. It is, however, important to get to make use of the obtained data in the first place.
We just mentioned that big data sometimes comprises datasets that span decades. With the rate at which user-generated data is contributing to the pile, we need a better storage model for this data. For that, cloud storage comes to the rescue.
The security model of cloud storage models is one of the best things about them, but not the best. The fact that the data stored in the cloud can now be accessed by authorized personnel from anywhere in the world sets up for better data planning and distribution models.
Many hands can work on the same datasets in real-time, improving efficiency, and reducing the latency in such processes. Cloud storage also allows data analysts key into the power of cloud computing to power faster systems that can run better analyses too.
Again, cloud technology is not at the peak yet. More technologies are still being coined from cloud tech and they will continually be pivotal to the growth of big data management as a whole.
From Big Data to Bigger Marketing
A property of big data that excites us the most is how it can plug into different aspects of the marketing processes.
Marketers have already hacked the consumer data front and will continue to make strides in that direction. Big data has also displayed an operational efficiency promise to help firms fine-tune their internal systems and processes for a better outward appeal. That trickles down into the financials, guaranteeing a better ROI on all marketing and branding investments.
After all said, though, big data is not all that rosy.
If not that these words have now been entrenched into the marketing vocabulary, the adjective ‘big’ should have been substituted for something else at this point. Big data has simply grown beyond levels that anyone could have envisioned sometimes back.
Thus, knowing what data to gather in the first place is a key challenge that marketers need to overcome. On top of that, there remains a need to choose the right analytical tools. From there, a clear path from the data to multiple insights and impact/ action plans can be drawn.
Leveraging the various emerging and established pieces of technology driving big data, these challenges can be overcome.
Do any of these trends jump out?
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