Back during the American Gold Rush, most of the people who went out for gold were enthusiastic amateurs who had to search for it the hard way—they’d sit by a stream where gold had already been found, and run water through a shallow pan, hoping for paydirt.
Today, a lot of people using digital marketing—be it email, SEO, PPC or some other medium—are functioning about the same way those miners did; that is, hit and miss and hope for the best. They’re missing out on leads and sales because they don’t have a clear idea of when, where or how to direct their efforts.
That’s where “big data” comes in. To boil it down to one simple image, big data is knowing where to find “gold” in the form of leads and/or finished sales. It means avoiding guesswork. It means taking your database and extending it with additional data, analyzing it and running it through models. The end result is data on your customers that lets you target them in the right way at the right time—thus achieving the results you need.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to be careless about your data. Data that’s not maintained and used correctly can waste money and damage your online reputation, particularly in the area of email marketing. Bounces, invalid addresses and accounts left inactive (which could be spam traps) can mean that your message won’t get where you want it to go. Even in PPC or SEO efforts, you need to know the message you want to deliver and how to time it for maximum effect. Big Data can help you make the right choices.
Is your enterprise a candidate for big data? If you want to expend your digital marketing dollar efficiently, you need to look at the data you use and how you use it. More importantly, you need to know what do with the data once you’ve analyzed it and are ready to implement what you’ve learned.
Big Data is still, to some extent, in its infancy. Now is the time to evaluate your company’s acquisition and use of data, and see how you can get ahead of the curve.