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Questions linger about big data marketing

Paul Newman Archive

It's becoming increasingly common for business leaders to be more proactive about using big data to help them make better decisions about the future of their enterprises. To achieve the best possible results, though, they can't be complacent about their methods of collecting, classifying and analyzing data. They must be introspective and always look for ways to improve their strategies.

Forbes recently delved into the matter of how companies can improve their data capabilities. Michael Brenner, vice president of SAP Global Marketing, argues that business leaders need to analyze the way consumers connect with their brands and look for ways they can sharpen their insights.

"The opportunity lies in defining how big data can help you better reach your customers with your messages in a way that gets them to act," Brenner wrote. "This starts with simple questions like: How did your last campaign perform? Which keywords drive conversions? What websites did my prospects visit before they came to my sites? Which social conversations are spurring the actions that lead to deeper engagement with your brand?"

Brenner also spoke with Brian Kardon, chief marketing officer of Lattice Engines, who noted that he uses big data dashboards to provide him with real-time answers to his most pressing concerns. Kardon has questions such as:

Who's visiting the site? Where do they come from?
Companies can measure the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns by gauging web traffic. If more visitors are flowing into a brand's website, a company should make a point of examining what attracts them. Is it email marketing? Outside advertisements? Organic searches? Whatever works, the company should keep it up.

Are people subscribing? Are they unsubscribing?
If ad campaigns are designed to drive up subscription rates - for regular emails, print media content or a paid-only service, for example - marketers can use big data to examine whether their subscriber numbers are trending up or down. Using that information, they can determine whether their marketing strategies are working.

Are social media users buzzing?
Social media is another realm where businesses can gather plenty of information about how their brands are trending. By using software solutions to measure the level of buzz - positive or negative - that their products are generating, companies can get a good look at where they stand.

It's essential that when firms examine information about their marketing progress, they begin with high standards for data quality. By working with knowledge that's pure and verifiable, companies can achieve the best results.