There are two kinds of marketers, those who lead and those who follow. The former gain a competitive advantage by doing something new, the latter fall behind by relying on the obvious. Personally, I love to outsmart my competition. Let me tell you how I’m going to do it in 2015.

How Effective Are Your Decisions?

Marketing is all about data. Gathering data, understanding your data and acting upon it. Ten years ago marketing leaders were talking about conversion funnels and investing in ways to collect information about anything and everything visitors were doing on a website. Five years ago the buzz word of the moment was optimization, and the race revolved around finding the best ways to leverage all the data everyone was collecting. Today… well, today there is something new that’s disrupting the way marketing is done, but it’s still all about data.

In theory, the effectiveness of your decisions should grow in parallel to the amount of data you accumulate. In the past few years the amount of data grew exponentially. But have you seen the same upward trend in the effectiveness of your decision-making? Probably not. Why? Because there is a tipping point at which the data size starts to reduce your ability to make sense of it. Right now we are way past that point.

Where Are The Insights?

We are in the Big Data era: terabytes of information scatter across a million useless Excel sheets, meaningless Google Analytics and AdWords reports, and orphan charts in your CRM. How do you combine all this information? How do you make sense of these enormous piles of data?

When you don’t know where the answers are, you need to ask a lot of questions. When you don’t know where to find valuable insights, you need to look at your data from all the different perspectives you can think of, slicing it, dicing it, zooming in and out, until you accidentally meet a new and unexpected understanding. This process is called “Data Discovery” and it is the secret weapon of today’s visionary marketers. Today’s competitive edge resides in “Big Data Marketing” and Data Discovery tools are the way to acquire it.

Discovering The Unexpected

Basically, Data Discovery tools give you the ability to play with data, to reveal relationships, to uncover patterns, and to reach insights that you didn’t even know to look for. When dealing with huge amounts of data, scattered across multiple databases and applications, Data Discovery is your vantage point. It combines all your data and brings it under a single, joint view that can be easily manipulated, visualized and analyzed using any combination of measures and dimensions. Think of a robust and flexible Google Analytics that lets you analyze all of your data from all of your sources.

big data analytics dashboard sisense

For example, say you want to improve your Google AdWords campaigns targeting. In order to do it most effectively you need a clear and elaborate view of your entire funnel, from the initial click on the ad to the actual sale, upsell or renewal. Then you need to break down this information by campaign, adgroup, keyword, ad, country, region, city, day of the week, time of day, language, device, gender, salesperson, average deal size etc. Then you would try different combinations of two or more of any of these dimensions until a pattern emerges. Doing all this could take weeks so you simply don’t do it. With a Data Discovery tool it takes an hour. A powerful advantage to have.

Are You Fast Enough?

Data Discovery is a term from the data science field. Though marketers are all in a sense amateur data scientists, I prefer the marketing way of phrasing things. I like to call it “Strike Analytics”: like in a game of Bowling, I am able to find valuable insights by “knocking down” data from all my channels and across all my funnels in a single strike.

big data marketing analytics dashboard sisense

The essence of Big Data Marketing is speed. The speed at which you can combine all your data, the speed at which you process and visualize it, and most importantly the speed at which you reach actionable insights. The faster you can juggle information, the more data and data combinations you can afford to cover, the more unexpected the insights you will find.

For a long time Big Data was just a vague term that never really penetrated our daily work. Now as more and more visionary marketers start to leverage powerful Data Discovery tools to illuminate dark corners in their databases, the status quo is beginning to change. Big Data Marketing is about to become a game changing reality. In the meantime, a new generation of marketing leaders is seizing the opportunity.

Want to learn more about data-driven marketing?

Check out a marketing dashboard example or watch our on-demand webinar: The Data that Drives the Marketing Funnel to discover:

  • How to access data from multiple sources to get immediate insights
  • The most effective reports and dashboards for marketing executives
  • Practical KPIs to determine strategic strengths and weakness
  • And more…
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