3 Challenges with Big Data for Marketers

As published by MarTech Advisor,

Is big data really the ideal solution for marketers? We explore three very real roadblocks to marketers embracing big data and why we feel less mature marketers may turn towards other customer data management solutions instead.

There is no doubt that big data – the huge volume of data flowing from various sources in a steady – and high-speed – stream has the potential to change the way businesses can leverage data to find their competitive edge.

While marketers too understand the potential of big data to transform their understanding of the customer, unfortunately, they also realize that big data is not a magical remedy for them. For starters, marketers are not professionally trained data scientists; progressive technologies such as the ones that drive big data are usually well beyond a marketer’s capabilities, and the control of big data still lies with technology people, who may or may not understand the business outcomes functions like marketing are chasing. Wore, because big data is – well, big – and encompasses all the data from all the sources that belong to the business –data relevant to marketing is in very real danger of getting lost in the deluge.

Hence, even though big data is now commonplace – even the smallest of companies can accurately claim to be generating big data in this always-on era – a lot of marketers don’t feel adequately prepared to start using it as a tool to drive their CX efforts.

Martech Advisor tracked the relationship between marketing and big data and we are forced to admit that we see 3 big practical problems when it comes to leveraging big data as a realistic or practical resource for improved marketing decision making:

Here are 3 of the most glaring roadblocks to marketing making the most of big data:

1. Collaborating with the IT team to use big data: this is the first stumbling block to using big data. It needs complex technologies (you’ve probably heard of something called Hadoop) that can structure and transform the data into a format that makes it usable. Remember, big data is a torrent of data flowing into the company from multiple sources – including logistics, manufacturing, billing, customer service, etc. Now, while there is merit in juxtaposing all that information about a customer’s experience on top of all the marketing related information that comes in from purely marketing systems, there is the very real danger of the torrent turning into a deluge. Marketers with limited resources may prefer to start with the pure marketing related data – flowing in from multiple marketing systems. Collaborating with IT, who is the custodian of organization-wide big data, and being dependent on them to get the insights they need is a least appealing option to marketers. It’s exactly why CDP and DMP companies are thriving – they are giving control of customer data to marketers, without needing any additional technical skills.

2. Integrating and translating big data points into useful insight: using any data optimally is a challenge for all business leader, and marketers are no different. Marketers are still developing their data analysis skills, just with the data generated by the marketing systems. As Neil Michel, Chief Strategy Officer at Wire Stone says in this article about how marketers struggle with data big and small, “in developing data analysis capabilities, marketers certainly need help. Many modern marketing tools do a great job of producing single-channel reports but understanding the contributions – and opportunities – across channels requires integrating data.” Like we just pointed out, the real problem faced by marketers in the pursuit of data-driven marketing strategies has nothing to do with the availability of data. In fact, many suffer from the problem of data deluge. Instead, it is the ability to bring together multiple sources of data, connect the dots to turn the data points into actionable insights and then to quickly execute based on those insights before you drown.

Luckily, technology can now help. As Kevin Cunningham, Chief Executive Officer, MRP says in his piece about big data for B2B marketers, “AI-enabled analytics platforms provide the best customer acquisition and retention success by automating much of the decision making around the signals generated from all of this data, allowing the marketing organization to focus more on strategy and less on tactical execution.” While these technologies surely will help marketers ‘ask the right questions’ or identify the right patterns, what is in doubt is whether marketers will choose to apply this to a large data set like big data or turn to data unifying solutions such as CDPs or simpler analytics tools built into their martech stack components to get the insights they?

3. How much speed do we really need? One defining characteristic of big data is velocity. It’s like a river of data flowing through the pipes. As Karl Van den Bergh, Chief Marketing Officer, Datastax argues in this piece; marketers struggle to engender value from big data primarily because the value of data is directly proportional to the speed as well as the extent to which it can be employed. Marketers need real-time, creative, and customer-responsive apps and tools to ensure they are able to deliver the right messages at the right time from the insights gleaned. Speed is crucial, and so is the agility to act with speed. However, as the volume of big data grows, the time available to make decisions is shrinking. Turning marketing data into insight is much easier and faster, and the analytical tools and context to understand marketing data are already available.

There is no doubt that to really have a holistic view of the customers’ interactions with the brand; big data is as important as the marketing data. However, addressing the challenges of knowing what data to gather when there is a deluge; which tools to use to understand the data, and how to take the insights thus garnered to market – at the speed and customization needed – are still big gray areas for marketers . Two years ago, when CDPs were not half as prevalent as they are today, big data held out great hope. But today, as marketers seek to take back control of the customer database, one has to wonder if big data is really as relevant to marketers as it may once have seemed.

About MRP

MRP provides predictive customer acquisition software and services. For 15 years, clients have relied on MRP to help them achieve their revenue goals by combining cutting-edge predictive analytics with a full suite of account-based marketing services to acquire new customers, faster. MRP has 10 offices, 550 employees and covers over 100 countries around the globe.

Visit www.mrpfd.com for more information.




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