“Data is the new oil.” That was one of my favorite quotes from a conference I attended earlier this year.
The businesses that can harvest and take advantage of big data will prosper and win in today’s hyper-competitive, social-driven and mobile-accessed economy.
For marketers, this presents a massive challenge: first, we need to cover the cost of gathering and storing the data. Second, we need the foresight to look at new technologies and tools to access it. And third, we need to hire the knowledge and expertise required to use these insights to move our business forward.
That is why, as part of my 2013 marketing predictions, I identified data scientists in marketing as one of the emerging roles. And this is also why I want a real-time, big data marketing dashboard.
Otherwise, how will we know that our activities are moving the needle, creating business results and resonating with our customers?
Retailers Looking To Leverage Big Data
I’m not alone. Retailers are quickly realizing that big data is the new battleground in the fight for high-volume but razor-thin sales margins. The convergence of social media, cloud computing, mobile access, location-based information and e-commerce are all combining to create a “perfect storm” of big data.
Big Data Analytics are helping these retailers shrink their supply chain costs and to determine which products to sell, at what price, in which place and on what level of promotion (remember the “4 P’s” of marketing?). They are also using Big Data to understand who is shopping, and how to deliver the best experience through personalization. This is only possible by analyzing lots of Big Data.
What Is Big Data For Marketing?
One of the key metrics for marketers to determine the effectiveness of marketing activities, especially content marketing is what I call “share of conversations.”
“Share of conversations” is the percentage of time your brand shows up in online conversations.
The number by itself, probably has little meaning. But when compared relative to your product’s market share, or when compared to your competitors, or when compared over time, this metric can help you determine if your content marketing is working.
“Big Data Is Bullshit”
In a recent eBook from Big Data provider Lattice Engines called “What’s in Store for Sales, Marketing and Big Data,” Foundry Group co-founder Brad Feld says:
Big Data is bullshit…20 years from now the thing we call ‘Big Data’ will be tiny data . . . The key for 2013 with Big data is to figure out how to make a difference. Don’t let marketing noise obscure what’s real and what isn’t.
It’s easy to see how Brad is not far off. If the information created in the last 2 years is greater than the information created from the dawn of time until then, imagine what Big Data will mean to marketers in 2023 or 2033.
All I Want For 2013 Is A Real-Time Marketing Dashboard
I want to combine the powerful forces of Big Data for marketing, the “noise” of all the social conversations, the power of understanding prospect intentions in search insights with the results generated in web analytics.
Is this possible?
Here are the steps I think we need to take to get your own big data for marketing, real-time analytics dashboard:
- Define your keywords. You need to look at topic modeling around your own solution areas to determine which words your customers are using when they search for solutions. It all starts with the keywords.
- Gather search analytics using unbranded keywords on your top categories and themes. Think Google Trends on steroids. For example, you need to know how many searches happened yesterday on terms in your solution category. You need to know which terms were most used? And you need to understand what % of those searches included your brand terms?
- You need social analytics on how many conversations occur each day across the social web. This is where the data gets really big. You need to know what % of those conversation include mentions of your brand. You need to know what are the main topics and hashtags and titles.
- You need to use web analytics to understand how many of your web property visitors come organically, through search and social and what % of those visitors are from unbranded terms (visitors who didn’t already know you).
- It is the combination of these 3 massive big data sets that will give you share of conversations! Now you need a tool to bring them together, normalize them across dimensions and display the insights you need to run your business.