Cutting Big Data Down to Size
Marketers have a love-hate relationship with Big Data. When it lands you in the bull’s-eye of your target audience, you love it. But when it takes forever to sift through the ever-increasing piles of stats to find that bull’s-eye, the relationship gets a little tedious. As new marketing channels continue to sprout, you can expect those data piles to grow from molehills into mountains. A smart data management plan can cut Big Data down to size by helping you determine which info you should keep, toss, live by and ignore.
The purpose of data analysis and management is to give you a comprehensive picture of your customers. Planting that goal as the centerpiece of your data management plan will help you determine which data to keep and use. The most important step in data management is figuring out how to marry traditional data (names and addresses) with digital data (e-mail addresses, Twitter monikers, device IDs). Your consumer database must be capable of integrating data from both online and offline channels that include purchases, digital usage and social media interactions. You need accurate and real-time information from these multiple channels to develop a clear idea of your customers.
A valuable data management plan also allows for gap analysis and offers insight into how to fill those gaps. New data opportunities such as response data, preference data and survey data are cropping up all the time. Your database should be able to handle these new pathways, as necessary, as your collection and analysis methods become more sophisticated.
The bottom line is that your marketing staff must have complete confidence in the data it uses. Give your marketers that confidence by developing intelligent and standardized business practices that glean information from the best and most accurate data sources available to you. This won’t happen overnight, but over time you will become skilled at determining which data sets are most impactful to your marketing results. Investing in a database that can integrate multiple sources of information and grow as your company grows will help you manage those mountains of data and put Big Data in its place. Don’t let your data own you; take the initiative to own your data.