Marketers (Mainly CMO’s) Can Get The Most Out Of Big Data—Here’s How

For all the benefits companies have seen from using big data analytics, perhaps no area has felt as much of an impact as marketing.

Photo: Jonathan Buckley, Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur; Source: Courtesy Photo
Photo: Jonathan Buckley, Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur; Source: Courtesy Photo

For all the benefits companies have seen from using big data analytics, perhaps no area has felt as much of an impact as marketing.

With a host of analytical tools at the ready and businesses more willing to collect data on customers, CMOs now find themselves with capabilities they could only have imagined years ago.

The appeal of big data is clear since leaders understand that it can make their companies more productive and profitable. But in many cases, simply having that data on hand isn’t enough to make full use of it. CMOs, for example, have already utilized big data in numerous ways (e.g., email marketing, customer segmentation, marketing strategy, etc.), but more can always be done.

CMOs that are willing to follow a few key steps will soon be able to get the most out of their big data, and the benefits will be plentiful and undeniable.


Match Data With Goals

There’s nothing wrong with creating a goal focused on using big data analytics, but such a goal doesn’t always describe what a company intends to do with that data.

If the objective is to propel business growth and improve the customer experience, the data a CMO uses needs to properly align with those objectives. That also means CMOs should use data to experiment with the stated goals in mind. Such a strategy usually involves the combination of creativity with analytics in an effort to figure out what marketing campaigns and tactics work best.

Employing data for specific ends is a critical step in truly getting the most out of big data. It helps to progress the company forward and respond to changes within the market as necessary.


Cooperate and Collaborate with CIOs

When using big data, more often than not CMOs butt heads with CIOs. This probably shouldn’t be a surprise since marketing with big data crosses over into territory normally reserved for CIOs.

Instead of forming a more antagonistic relationship, CMOs and CIOs should instead understand that they are often reaching for the same solutions using many of the same tools and processes. In many cases, CMOs have the data while CIOs have the talent and expertise. By collaborating with each other, the two roles can offer unique strategies surrounding big data, but at the same time ensure company funds and resources aren’t duplicated between two different departments.

This cooperative effort will likely require better communication and greater understanding between the two sides, but the result will lead to big data having a bigger impact on marketing strategies.


Use Only the Relevant Data

Having a lot of data can certainly be useful, but if the idea is to accomplish specific marketing goals, CMOs need to only use the most relevant data. Finding what is and what isn’t relevant data is often the hardest part.

That means CMOs need to determine what metrics are the most essential for their purposes, such as the numbers that are related to sales growth, customer retention, and other vital factors. This also means figuring out what to look for when it comes to customer conversion and how best to measure if a marketing campaign is successful.

Of course, much of the available data can provide a big picture perspective in terms of future trends and patterns, but CMOs need to maintain a narrow focus on how that data can be put to use for specific ends.


Find the Right Talent

Marketers are using data more than ever now, and that requires the CMO to go out and find people with the right analytical skill set along with marketing talent.

Finding the right combination has become a formidable challenge with a general data talent shortage, but CMOs that can discover people with a knack for turning data into valuable insight will soon find success with their big data and marketing strategy. The right talent will also be able to utilize big data tools, like Hadoop cloud and others.

Big data is set to be a big part of how marketers conduct their business. CMOs have a lot of work ahead of them to make sure they’re getting the most out all the new data they’re receiving, but the results are well worth it if done right.

The above steps are just the start of a fully functional big data marketing strategy, one that will see a lot of success in the years to come.


This article has been edited and condensed.

Jonathan Buckley is a Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur with a career focus on bringing highly disruptive B2B technologies to market in the enterprise data and security-related spaces. With a background in econometric modeling and business strategy from Arthur Andersen LLC, Jonathan has lead award winning marketing teams at many notable companies ranging from a co-founded IoT startup (since acquired) to a NASDAQ 100 networking company (since acquired) where revenues for his product grew from $60M to $222M per year under his leadership. Connect with @JonathanBuckley on Twitter.


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