Skip to main content

Big Data presents data quality, marketing opportunities and challenges

Rachel Wheeler Archive
Many advertising professionals and companies are excited about the opportunity that Big Data creates for improving marketing campaigns, business operations and customer service. By having insight on consumer behavior, employee performance, transaction histories and more, executives will be able to analyze current policies and processes and pinpoint what areas need to be overhauled.

With these vast amounts of data flooding in from a variety of sources, it's necessary to adopt deduplication software and other data quality tools that can ensure all the information you collect is accurate and usable.

Anthony Mullen, one of Forrester Research's senior analysts for interactive marketing, tells MarketingWeek magazine that the convergence of data-generating platforms - social media, email, mail, call centers, etc. - could bring marketing into a new era, where it is actually giving consumers "advice" rather than simply promoting brands.

He notes that eventually, businesses will be able to combine these disparate sources of customer information and combine them into CRM systems, allowing employees in call centers and stores to apply knowledge of past purchases and preferences and improve the client experience. Companies can also benefit, as they may be able to boost sales and deepen customer relationships with targeted offers.

Challenges remain

As with any emerging technology, Big Data presents a host of opportunities but also creates challenges and roadblocks that companies must overcome. According to a survey conducted at the Columbia Business School's annual BRITE conference in March, marketers continue to struggle with using Big Data to inform their campaigns and other promotional efforts.

The study indicates that many marketing professionals wish to incorporate more data into their decision-making processes, yet 29 percent of respondents said that they have "too little or no customer/consumer data" in their companies. Data quality also appears to be an issue, as 39 percent said when they do collect data, it is "too infrequently or not real-time enough."

Measuring the effectiveness of various channels also proves difficult for marketers. Just 14 percent of those using social networks calculate ROI in financial terms, while 41 percent of email marketers do so. The majority of responding companies (60 percent) said they struggled when "comparing the effectiveness of marketing across their different digital media."

Researchers issued five tips for marketers wishing to improve their use of data. First, determine your objectives, then create a set of metrics to ensure you are meeting those goals. Next, collect data that actually aligns with that data and share your objectives and measurements with everyone in the company. Finally, create a reward system that provides an incentive for employees to achieve those goals.