The term Big Data has been thrown around like the empty promises of a politician during an election campaign for the best part of a decade. But what does it actually mean? How can you define Big Data and how is it used in the consumer driven, digital world in which we live today?
When used correctly, Big Data is a powerful resource which can transform a weak and ineffective marketing strategy into a highly personal approach which will no doubt increase a business’ ROI. By harnessing the power of data, a truly personalised marketing strategy can be implemented, resulting in a better UX (user experience). Despite the inherent ethical issues with Big Data – the fact that every digital move is logged – having an accurate user profile can ensure that your marketing activity isn’t falling on deaf ears, and instead dropping in front of consumers most likely to convert.
It’s all well and good knowing how Big Data can help with your marketing plan, but where does this data even come from? In 2015, the International Telecommunication Union estimated about 3.2 billion people, or almost half of the world’s population, would be online by the end of the year. Each individual that uses the internet is unwittingly giving information on their personal tastes and preferences to companies that harvest all this data. Facebook likes, browsing activity, transaction history- all used to capture data which third party companies will harness to advertise their goods and services directly to you. Have you ever wondered why the adverts which appear on your Facebook news feed are exactly what you were looking for, or even what you’ve previously been looking at? That’s Big Data. Obviously, this is a very top level view of how Big Data works and there is a lot more to it, but the principal remains the same.
For businesses and SMEs, harnessing the power of Big Data can reduce the chances of your marketing activity coming across as spammy. By selecting your ideal potential customer based on a number of different metrics, you can drastically increase the chances of conversion. It’s not to say that this process is simple though. Far from it. With numerous different platforms allowing data to be captured and stored, it’s what you do with the data that’s the key to success. Having all the data in the world and not knowing how best to utilise it for your business needs is pointless. However, if you can maintain and nurture the data to work for your business needs, it’s invaluable.
Data capture and storage isn’t only important for improving customer relations and a marketing strategy, but also for companies that specialise in research and development. Gone are the days of manually inputting data and having to trawl through stacks of paper, only to finds that the piece of information you were searching for is lost. Technologies such as the idbs electronic lab notebook makes data collection and curation a seamless process, allowing businesses to step away from the paper-heavy world of the past. By storing data on a cloud system, multiple people in different locations can access the information at the touch of a button.
So whilst Big Data might feel like an invasion of privacy from a consumer point of view at times, it’s essential to both a business’ marketing strategy and research process. In fact, the use of Big Data has resulted in a higher level of efficiency across pretty much every sector. And it’s set to continue. With more opportunities and platforms to collect data, the sheer volume of data amassed will increase as a result, further facilitating the bespoke targeting of marketing strategies to individual consumers.