While data is always essential for advertisers, enormous amounts of it can easily bog you down, making it difficult for you to know how to analyze it—much less how to use it all to the best of your business’s capacity. That’s the struggle of big data.
Jen Anderson, SVP of Data & Analytics at Edelman Digital, offers a few tips on handling big data in marketing.
“You must be prepared to learn from your data, work with internal teams to optimize efforts, and be willing to experiment,” she writes in “The Power of Big Data Relies on Bold Strategies,” a section in Edelman’s 2018 Trends Report. “The information you collect is worthless without a plan to properly utilize it.”
So how can advertisers utilize all that big data has to offer, when the trouble with big data is exactly that: it offers an overwhelming amount?
“One big data solution does not fit all,” Anderson warns. “Finding the most impactful approach for your brand starts with thinking about the objectives of your business and the ideal relationships you want to build with your customers. Once that path is set, big data strategies will fall in line.”
When it comes to creating a plan for marketing with big data, here are some good places to start:
Stay customer-centric. All the data in the world is no use to you if you’re not handling it in a way that puts customer experience first. “Stay committed to the customer experience, rather than the channel performance,” says Anderson. Using humans—rather than AI or machine learning—to create content strategies based on the data you’ve received will help ensure that the customer experience remains strong.
Keep business impact in mind. Don’t get bogged down in all the details. While the huge amounts of data coming your way may intimidate you into focusing on a specific channel and the impressions and/or clicks it’s getting, it’s important not to lose sight of your overall key performance indicators (KPIs) and the strength of your omnichannel presence.
Always keep experimenting. Testing new ways to implement big data is one of the only ways you’ll learn how to make it work for you. Anderson encourages “allocating an insanely curious team to maintain testing…to interpret results regularly.” For best results, these experiments—again, performed by humans, not AI—should also focus on customer experience and KPIs.
Don’t let big data intimidate you. By staying customer-centric, keeping business impact in mind, and harboring a healthy dose of experimentation, you can harness the power of big data without drowning in it.