Big Data and Deer Hunting

Patti RennerAs calls for the adoption of data-driven marketing methodologies continue, for marketers, it can be a little intimidating. I mean, you have the data… you’re already probably using your data in a limited sense to properly chunk your list into sensible groups for loosely targeted messaging and advertising. The difference between using your basic reporting and using a big-data approach might be compared to deer hunting. Let me explain.
A deer hunter looks for evidence of his prey, where the deer have been before. Evidence like tracks in the mud… bark or branches nibbled off trees in late fall… trails through the brush that lead to a soft patch of matted grass where they may be bedding for the night. So, being a clever hunter who makes good use of the information available, he builds a tree stand along the path where he believes the deer will walk eventually. He builds it, he stocks it, then he waits. And waits. And if he’s lucky, by the end of the short season, he will have tagged his quota.

Most marketers operate like this hunter. They use a few basic data points and gut assumptions to stalk their prey – or prospects likely to convert – and they wait. Unfortunately nothing happens if nobody opens or gets exposed to their brilliant message. They’re left hanging in the cold, planning for the next campaign or season to do better next time and learn from their miscalculations.

Big data gives such hunter-marketers a guerilla advantage. Instead of waiting around for the deer to come close enough to target, Big Data allows the marketer to know with a degree of certainty where the deer is so the hunter can go after them directly and with greater accuracy.
In real life, this means Big Data supported by a robust data management platform, can help you meet your goals faster, more efficiently to improve the overall approach to how you serve and sell to your customers. Does this mean better campaign ROI? Of course it does, but that’s just the start.
Here is the Gartner definition of Big Data:

“Big data” is high-volume, -velocity and -variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing for enhanced insight and decision making.”

You may already have huge amounts of data in your organization. Maybe it’s trapped in different systems or doesn’t come together very easily to be fully useful. But it’s big and it’s data, so it’s kinda like big data, right? Uh, no. The real question is how fast can you take action on your data in storage. How fast can you run counts to see if you have a segment worthy of a specific campaign? And how quickly can you run numbers and segments the combine criteria like purchase history, email opens, and site visits in, say, the last 30 days?

It’s your data. Making use of it doesn’t have to be so complicated. In the next several weeks, we’ll be sharing some very exciting new tools with you – new technology so you can use all of your data for advanced messaging and analytics – allowing you to get your counts as fast as a hot knife cutting butter.

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