There are many misconceptions about what Big Data is and how it can be used. The intuitive definition of Big Data is the volume. It is more than that, it is volume, velocity and variety.
How can you manage such fast moving, high-demand and inconsistent data? You need a technology team working with the marketing team working with the analytics team. Together they will not only define the ‘how’ [to capture and store the data], but also the ‘what’ [define the reports, dashboard, business needs] and the ‘why’ [the analytics and insights].
In the end, having data, big or small, is of no use if you don’t leverage it in a way that is meaningful. Right now you have more information at your fingertips than ever before. But many brands remain data rich yet insight poor because they don’t put in the ground work to use their data effectively.
Make a map.
The first step is to figure out where all your data is. A helpful first exercise to begin your transformation journey is to map out what your ecosystem looks like, using a diagram like this to show the relationships between the different platforms:
Only gather what you’ll use.
You need to start to prune back your data gathering efforts to include only what is essential to enhance your relationship with the customer.
Once you know all the data you have in your ecosystem, it’s time to have an honest evaluation of how much use it is to your brand. Stop collecting anything you’re not going to use (fax numbers?!). And that’s as in you don’t have a set plan to use, not “we might, some day”. It’s one less pool of data for you to manage, it makes your customer forms simpler and it’ll free up space/capacity for other new and exciting things in your tech stack.
Liberate your data. Break the silos.
Then you endeavour to bring it all together, either using new technology or connectors between legacy systems to form one master record for each individual who has a relationship with your organisation. The goal of the exercise is connecting information about interactions across different channels and different areas of the business into one complete user picture. We call this the Single Customer View. This opens up the potential for smarter, more effective data-driven marketing to roll out from.
When you break down data silos and barriers between legacy systems, you open up the potential to create a truly customer-centric approach to marketing, where all brand interactions with a particular customer can be aligned, synchronised and personalised to that individual, with marketing programs responding to customer data in real time and adjusting the customer experience accordingly.
Ready for action?
You might not be able to change the data direction of a massive organisation overnight, but you can make those first crucial steps. Get your free copy of the Epsilon Essential Guide to Marketing Data to see what you need to do and how to do it.