Big Data and Marketing: A Convergent Partnership

Big Data has the potential to transform marketing – but the trick is to channel it in a way that brings results

 The term “Big Data” not only represents the data itself but embodies accumulating and analyzing massive amounts of data for judicious decision making. According to the report, Global Big Data Market, Big Data will grow at a CAGR of over 55 percent by the year 2015. The use of Big Data is particularly crucial to the marketing of a business or a brand. In fact, Big Data is transforming the marketing industry.

The collecting and storing of Big Data is not enough to impact the marketing industry. What is more important is to use Big Data for results that are most relevant to the business and its marketing strategy. The challenges associated with successfully exploiting Big Data can be particularly overwhelming for marketing. This is primarily because most analytic systems are not lined up with the marketing data, processes and decisions of an organization.


Three biggest challenges to the use of big date in marketing are embedded in the following questions?

Which analytical tools to use?

With the growth in volume of Big Data, the time available for marketers for decision making and implementing them is decreasing. With the help of analytical tools, marketers can aggregate and analyze data. Well-planned analytical processes and people with the talent and skills are needed to leverage the technologies essential to carry out effective Big Data analytics initiatives.

What data to collect?

The key to Big Data is exploiting the number of data points so that deep conclusions can be drawn. Data points are like dots on a map that can be connected to draw conclusions about the meaning of different activities. The activities being measured can be, for example, searching, sharing, clicking, liking or commenting on certain online content.

A great example of this is Google collecting data from searches to predict flu outbreaks even before they occur. In this case, Google is connecting keywords like flu symptoms which are used in the searches with a geographic location based on the IP addresses of the people searching.

How to make the data meaningful?

Companies are now using Big Data to classify their most valuable customers. How? Big Data differs from narrow applications that look at just one source of data, yielding trivial answers. Big Data examines a broad range of sources that include structured information such as purchase histories, customer relationship management (CRM) data and intelligence from industry partners, as well as unstructured information such as social media. In the case of airlines, the partners could include credit card companies, hotels, and other travel industry sources.


Big Data does not necessarily lead a business towards success just on the basis of marketing. However, insights stemming from Big Data can bring customer engagement and marketing effectiveness to another level. In fact, integrating Big Data into marketing can have a substantial impact in the following key areas:

  • Customer engagement: Big Data can deliver insights into not just who the customers are, but where they are, what they want, how they want to be contacted and when.
  • Customer retention and loyalty: Big Data can help discover what influences customer loyalty and what keeps customers coming back again and again.
  • Marketing performance: Big Data can help determine the optimal marketing spend across multiple channels, as well as help continuously optimize marketing programs through testing, measurement and analysis.
  • Analysis for future predictions: Big Data tools allow in-depth analysis of historical data in order to make predictions about the future.

Netflix is one example of a company that uses Big Data analysis to predict future patterns. Currently, Netflix uses Big Data to improve quality and stability for video streams as well as to evaluate customer preferences by recommending shows or movies they might like to see. Those efforts have been of vital importance to the company, which is now the worldwide leader in Internet television, offering over one billion hours of TV shows and movies per month to over 37 million members in 40 countries.

Big Data can be the difference maker between a successful marketing campaign and one that goes virtually unnoticed.  The trick is to know how to use the data that your company collects and to channel it in a way that brings results.

Blogger: Unum Shafiq

© 2013 Market Analyst, LLC. All rights reserved.

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